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How to Listen to Music. Illustrated. 

12mo net $1.25 

Music and Manners in the Classical 

Period. 12mo $1.50 

The Pianoforte and Its Music. Illustrated. 

[Music Lover's Library.] 12mo. net $1.25 









Author of "Studies in tbe Wagnerian Drama'' " Notes on the 

Cultivation of Choral Music" "Tbe Philharmonic 

Society of New York," ttc. 










THE author is beholden to the Messrs. Harper & 
Brothers for permission to use a small portion of the 
material in Chapter I., the greater part of Chapter IV., 
and the Plates which were printed originally in one 
of tneir publications ; also to the publishers of " The 
Looker-On " for the privilege of reprinting a portion 
of an essay written for them entitled " Singers, Then 
and Now." 



Purpose and scope of this book Not written for pro- 
fessional musicians, but for untaught lovers of the art 
neither for careless seekers after diversion unless they 
be willing to accept a higher conception of what ' ' enter- 
tainment " means The capacity properly to listen to mu- 
sic as a touchstone of musical talent It is rarely found in 
popular concert- rooms Travellers who do not see and 
listeners who do not hear Music is of all the arts that 
which is practised most and thought about least Popular 
ignorance of the art caused by the lack of an object for 
comparison How simple terms are confounded by lit- 
erary men Blunders by Tennyson, Lamb, Coleridge, 
Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, F. Hopkinson Smith, Bran- 
der Matthews, and others A warning against pedants and 
rhapsodists Page 3 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

The dual nature of music Sense-perception, fancy, 
and imagination Recognition of Design as Form in its 
primary stages The crude materials of music The co- 
ordination of tones Rudimentary analysis of Form 
Comparison, as in other arts, not possible Recognition 
of the fundamental elements Melody, Harmony, and 
Rhythm The value of memory The need of an inter- 







mediary Familiar music best liked Interrelation of the 
elements Repetition the fundamental principle of Form 
Motives, Phrases, and Periods A Creole folk-tune an- 
alyzedRepetition at the base of poetic forms Refrain 
and Parallelism Key-relationship as a bond of union 
Symphonic unity illustrated in examples from Beethoven 
The C minor symphony and " Appassionata " sonata 
The Concerto in G major The Seventh and Ninth sym- 
phonies Page 15 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

How far it is necessary for the listener to go into musi- 
cal philosophy Intelligent hearing not conditioned upon 
it Man's individual relationship to the art Musicians 
proceed on the theory that feelings are the content of mu- 
sic The search for pictures and stories condemned How 
composers hear and judge Definitions of the capacity of 
music by Wagner, Hauptmann^and Mendelssohn An ut- 
terance by Herbert Spencer Music as a language Ab- 
solute music and Programme music The content of all 
true art works Chamber music Meaning and origin of 
the term Haydn the servant of a Prince The charac- 
teristics of Chamber music Pure thought, lofty imagina- 
tion, and deep learning Its chastity Sympathy between 
performers and listeners essential to its enjoyment A 
correct definition of Programme music Programme music 
defended The value of titles and superscriptions Judg- 
ment upon it must, however, go to the music, not the com- 
mentary Subjects that are unfit for music Kinds of Pro- 
gramme music Imitative music How the music of birds 
has been utilized The cuckoo of nature and Beethoven's 
cuckoo Cock and hen in a seventeenth century compo- 
sition Rameau's pullet The German quail Music that 
is descriptive by suggestion External and internal attri- 
butes Fancy and Imagination Harmony and the major 
and minor mode Association of ideas Movement delin- 


eated Handel's frogs Water in the "Hebrides" over- 
ture and "Ocean" symphonyHeight and depth illus- 
trated by acute and grave tones Beethoven's illustration 
of distance -His rule enforced Classical and Romantic 
music Genesis of the terms What they mean in litera- 
ture Archbishop Trench on classical books The au- 
thor's definitions of both terms in music Classicism as 
the conservative principle, Romanticism as the progres- 
sive, regenerative, and creative A contest which stim- 
ulates life. . Page 36 

The Modern Orchestra 

Importance of the instrumental band Some things 
that can be learned by its study The orchestral choirs 
Disposition of the players Model bands compared De- 
velopment of instrumental music The extent of an or- 
chestra's register The Strings Violin, Viola, Violon- 
cello, and Double-bass Effects produced by changes in 
manipulation The wood-winds: Flute, Oboe, English 
horn, Bassoon, Clarinet The Brass French Horn, Trum- 
pet and Cornet, Trombone, Tuba The Drums The Con- 
ductor Rise of the modern interpreter The need of him 
His methods Scores and Score-reading. . Page 71 

At an Orchestral Concert 

" Classical " and " Popular " as generally conceived 
Symphony Orchestras and Military bands The higher 
forms in music as exemplified at a classical concert- 
Symphonies, Overtures, Symphonic Poems, Concertos, 
etc. A Symphony not a union of unrelated parts History 
of the name The Sonata form and cyclical compositions 
The bond of union between the divisions of a Symphony- 
Material and spiritual links The first movement and the 







CHAP. sonata form "Exposition, illustration, and repetition" 
V The subjects and their treatment Keys and nomen- 
clature of the Symphony The Adagio or second move- 
ment The Scherzo and its relation to the Minuet The 
Finale and the Rondo form The latter illustrated in out- 
line by a poem Modifications of the symphonic form by 
Beethoven, Schumann, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint- 
Saens and Dvorak Augmentation of the forces Sym- 
phonies with voices The Symphonic Poem Its three 
characteristics Concertos and Cadenzas M. Ysaye's 
opinion of the latter Designations in Chamber music 
The Overture and its descendants Smaller forms : Ser- 
enades, Fantasias, Rhapsodies, Variations, Operatic Ex- 
cerpts . . . . . Page 122 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

CHAP. The Popularity of Pianoforte music exemplified in M 

VI. Paderewski's recitals The instrument A universal me- 

dium of music study Its defects and merits contrasted 
Not a perfect melody instrument Value of the percus- 
sive element Technique ; the false and the true estimate 
of its value Pianoforte literature as illustrated in recitals 
Its division, for the purposes of this study, into four 
periods : Classic, Classic-romantic, Romantic, and Bravura 
Precursors of the PianoforteThe Clavichord and Harp- 
sichord, and the music composed for themPeculiarities 
of Bach's style His Romanticism Scarlatti's Sonatas 
The Suite and its constituents Allenoande, Courante, 
Sarabande, Gigue, Minuet, and Gavotts The technique 
of the period How Bach and Handel playedBeethoven 
and the Sonata Mozart and Beethoven as pianists The 
Romantic composers Schumann and Chopin and tke 
forms used by them Schumann and Jean Paul Chopin's 
Preludes, Etudes, Nocturnes, Ballades, Polonaises, Ma- 
zurkas, Krakowiak The technique of the Romantic pe- 


riod ''Idiomatic" pianoforte music Development of 
the instrument The Pedal and its use Liszt and his 
Hungarian Rhapsodies. Page 154 

At the Opera 

Instability of popular taste in respect of operas Our 
lists seldom extend back of the present century The peo- 
ple of to-day as indifferent as those of two centuries ago 
to the language used Use and abuse of foreign lan- 
guages The Opera defended as an art-form Its origin in 
the Greek tragedies Why music is the language of emo- 
tion A scientific explanation Herbert Spencer's laws 
Efforts of Florentine scholars to revive the classic tragedy 
result in the invention of the lyric drama The various 
kinds of Opera : Opera seria, Opera buffa, Opera semiseria , 
French grand Optra, and Optra comique Operettas and 
musical farces Romantic Opera A popular conception 
of German opera A return to the old terminology led by 
Wagner The recitative Its nature, aims, and capaci- 
ties The change from speech to song The arioso style, 
the accompanied recitative and the aria Music and dra- 
matic action Emancipation from set forms The orches- 
tra The decay of singing Feats of the masters of the 
Roman school and La Bastardella Degeneracy of the 
Opera of their day Singers who have been heard in New 
York Two generations of singers compared Grisi, Jenny 
Lind, Sontag, La Grange, Piccolomini, Adelina Patti, 
Nilsson, Sembrich, Lucca, Gerster, Lehmann, Melba, 
Eames, Calve*, Mario, Jean and Edouard de Reszke 
Wagner and his works Operas and lyric dramas Wag- 
ner's return to the principles of the Florentine reformers 
Interdependence of elements in a lyric drama; Forms 
and the endless melody The Typical Phrases : How they 
should be studied. Page 202 








Choirs and Choral Music 

Value of chorus singing in musical culture Schu- 
mann's advice to students Choristers and instrumental- 
ists Amateurs and professionals Oratorio and Manner- 
gesang The choirs of Handel and Bach Glee Unions, 
Male Clubs, and Women's Choirs Boys' voices not adapt- 
ed to modern music Mixed choirs American Origin of 
amateur singing societies Priority over Germany The 
size of choirs Large numbers not essential How choirs 
are divided Antiphonal effects Excellence in choir sing- 
ing Precision, intonation, expression, balance of tone, 
enunciation, pronunciation, declamation The cause of 
monotony in Oratorio performances A capella music 
Genesis of modern hymnology Influence of Luther and 
the Germans Use of popular melodies by composers 
The chorale Preservation of the severe style of writing 
in choral music Palestrina and Bach A study of their 
styles Latin and Teuton Church and individual Mo- 
tets and Church Cantatas The Passions The Oratorio 
Sacred opera and Cantata Epic and Drama Charac- 
teristic and descriptive music The Mass : Its seculariza- 
tion and musical development The dramatic tendency 
illustrated in Beethoven and Berlioz Page 253 

Musician, Critic and Public 

Criticism justified Relationship between Musician, 
Critic and Public To end the conflict between them 
would result in stagnation How the Critic might escape 
The Musician prefers to appeal to the public rather than 
to the Critic Why this is so Ignorance as a safeguard 
against and promoter of conservatism Wagner and 
Haydn The Critic as the enemy of the charlatan Temp- 
tations to which he is exposed Value of popular appro- 



bation Schumann's aphorisms The Public neither bad 
judges nor good critics The Critic's duty is to guide pop- 
ular judgment Fickleness of the people's opinions Taste , 
and judgment not a birthright The necessity of antece- 
dent study The Critic's responsibility Not always that 
toward the Musician which the latter thinks How the 
newspaper can work for good Must the Critic be a Musi- 
cian ? Pedants and Rhapsodists Demonstrable facts in 
criticism The folly and viciousness of foolish rhapsody 
The Rev. Mr. Haweis cited Ernst's violin Intelligent 
rhapsody approved Dr. John Brown on Beethoven The 




INDEX. ...*. /Vtf35i 

How to Listen to Music 



'T'HIS book has a purpose, which is 
1 as simple as it is plain ; and an un- 
pretentious scope. It does not aim to 
edify either the musical professor or 
the musical scholar. It comes into the 
presence of the musical student with all 
becoming modesty. Its business is with 
those who love music and present them- 
selves for its gracious ministrations in 
Concert-Room and Opera House, but 
have not studied it as professors and 
scholars are supposed to study. It is 
no* for the careless unless they be will- 
i'ig to inquire whether it might not be 
well to yield the common conception 
of entertainment in favor of the higher 
enjoyment which springs from serious 
contemplation of beautiful things ; but 
if they are willing so to inquire, they 

The booKs 

How to Listen to Music 


Talent in 

shall be accounted the class that the 
author is most anxious to reach. The 
reasons which prompted its writing and 
the laying out of its plan will presently 
appear. For the frankness of his dis- 
closure the author might be willing to 
apologize were his reverence for music 
less and his consideration for popular 
affectations more ; but because he is 
convinced that a love for music carries 
with it that which, so it be but awak- 
ened, shall speedily grow into an honest 
desire to know more about the beloved 
object, he is willing to seem unamiable 
to the amateur while arguing the need 
of even so mild a stimulant as his book, 
and ingenuous, mayhap even childish, 
to the professional musician while try- 
ing to point a way in which better ap- 
preciation may be sought. 

The capacity properly to listen to 
music is better proof of musical talent 
in the listener than skill to play upo>i 
an instrument or ability to sing accept- 
ably when unaccompanied by that ca- 
pacity. It makes more for that gentle- 
ness and refinement of emotion, thought, 
and action which, in the highest sense 


of the term, it is the province of music 
to promote. And it is a much rarer ac- 
complishment. I cannot conceive any- 
thing more pitiful than the spectacle of 
men and women perched on a fair ob- 
servation point exclaiming rapturously 
at the loveliness of mead and valley, 
their eyes melting involuntarily in ten- 
derness at the sight of moss-carpeted 
slopes and rocks and peaceful wood, or 
dilating in reverent wonder at mountain 
magnificence, and then learning from 
their exclamations that, as a matter of 
fact, they are unable to distinguish be- 
tween rock and tree, field and forest, 
earth and sky ; between the dark - 
browns of the storm-scarred rock, the 
greens of the foliage, and the blues of 
the sky. 

Yet in the realm of another sense, 
in the contemplation of beauties more 
ethereal and evanescent than those of 
nature, such is the experience which 
in my capacity as a writer for news- 
papers I have made for many years. A 
party of people blind to form and color 
cannot be said to be well equipped for 
a Swiss journey, though loaded down 





of music. 

How to Listen to Music 

with alpenstocks and Baedekers ; yet 
the spectacle of such a party on the top 
of the Rigi is no more pitiful and anom- 
alous than that presented by the major- 
ity of the hearers in our concert-rooms. 
They are there to adventure a journey 
'into a realm whose beauties do not dis- 
close themselves to the senses alone, but 
whose perception requires a co-opera- 
tion of all the finer faculties ; yet of this 
they seem to know nothing, and even 
of that sense to which the first appeal 
is made it may be said with profound 
truth that " hearing they hear not, 
neither do they understand." 

Of all the arts, music is practised 
most and thought about least. Why 
this should be the case may be ex- 
plained on several grounds. A sweet 
mystery enshrouds the nature of music. 
Its material part is subtle and elusive. 
To master it on its technical side alone 
costs a vast expenditure of time, pa- 
tience, and industry. But since it is, in 
one manifestation or another, the most 
popular of the arts, and one the enjoy- 
ment of which is conditioned in a pecul- 
iar degree on love, it remains passing 


strange that the indifference touching 
its nature and elements, and the charac- 
ter of the phenomena which produce it, 
or are produced by it, is so general. I 
do not recall that anybody has ever tried 
to ground this popular ignorance touch- 
ing an art of which, by right of birth, 
everybody is a critic. The unamiable 
nature of the task, of which I am keenly 
conscious, has probably been a bar to 
such an undertaking. But a frank diag- 
nosis must precede the discovery of a 
cure for every disease, and I have un- 
dertaken to point out a way in which 
this grievous ailment in the social body 
may at least be lessened. 

,It is not an exaggeration to say that 
one might listen for a lifetime to the po- 
lite conversation of our drawing-rooms 
(and I do not mean by this to refer to the 
United States alone) without hearing a 
symphony talked about in terms indic- 
ative of more than the most superficial 
knowledge of the outward form, that is, 
the dimensions and apparatus, of such a 
composition. No other art provides 
an exact analogy for this phenomenon. 
Everybody can say something contain- 


Paucity of 


How to Listen to Music 

CHAP. i. 

Want of a 

terms con- 

ing a degree of appositeness about a 
poem, novel, painting, statue, or build- 
ing. If he can do no more he can go 
as far as Landseer's rural critic who 
objected to one of the artist's paintings 
on the ground that not one of the three 
pigs eating from a trough had a foot in 
it. It is the absence of the standard of 
judgment employed in this criticism 
which makes significant talk about mu- 
sic so difficult. Nature failed to pro- 
vide a model for this ethereal art. 
There is nothing in the natural world 
with which the simple man may com- 
pare it. 

It is not alone a knowledge of the 
constituent factors of a symphony, or 
the difference between a sonata and a 
suite, a march and a mazurka, that is 
rare. Unless you chance to be listen- 
ing to the conversation of musicians (in 
which term I wish to include amateurs 
who are what the word amateur implies, 
and whose knowledge stands in some 
respectable relation to their love), you 
will find, so frequently that I have not the 
heart to attempt an estimate of the pro- 
portion, that the most common words 


in the terminology of the art are mis- 
applied. Such familiar things as har- 
mony and melody, time and tune, are 
continually confounded. Let us call a 
distinguished witness into the box ; the 
instance is not new, but it will serve. 
What does Tennyson mean when he 
says : 

" All night have the ro&es heard 

The flute, violin, 'bassoon ; 
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd 
To the dancers dancing in tune ? " 

Unless the dancers who wearied 
Maud were provided with even a more 
extraordinary instrumental outfit than 
the Old Lady of Banbury Cross, how 
could they have danced "in tune?" 

Musical study of a sort being almost 
as general as study of the "three Rs," 
it must be said that the gross forms of 
ignorance are utterly inexcusable. But 
if this is obvious, it is even more obvi- 
ous that there is something radically 
wrong with the prevalent systems of 
musical instruction. It is because of 
a plentiful lack of knowledge that so 
much that is written on music is with- 



Tune and 



of poets and 

How to Listen to Music 

out meaning, and that the most foolish 
kind of rhapsody, so it show a colloca- 
tion of fine words, is permitted to mas- 
querade as musical criticism and even 
analysis. People like to read about 
music, and the books of a certain Eng- 
lish clergyman have had a sale of stu- 
pendous magnitude notwithstanding 
they are full of absurdities. The clergy- 
man has a multitudinous companion- 
ship, moreover, among novelists, essay- 
ists, and poets whose safety lies in more 
or less fantastic generalization when 
they come to talk about music. How 
they flounder when they come to detail ! 
It was Charles Lamb who said, in his 
"Chapter on Ears," that in voices he 
could not distinguish a soprano from a 
tenor, and could only contrive to guess 
at the thorough-bass from its being " su- 
pereminently harsh and disagreeable ; " 
yet dear old Elia may be forgiven, since 
his confounding the bass voice with a 
system of musical short-hand is so de- 
lightful a proof of the ignorance he was 

But what shall the troubled critics 
say to Tennyson's orchestra consisting 



of a flute, violin, and bassoon ? Or to 
Coleridge's " loud bassoon," which made 
the wedding-guest to beat his breast? 
Or to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's 
pianist who played " with an airy and 
bird - like touch ? " Or to our own 
clever painter-novelist who, in " Snub- 
bin* through Jersey," has Brushes bring 
out his violoncello and play " the sym- 
phonies of Beethoven " to entertain his 
fellow canal-boat passengers ? The ten- 
dency toward realism, or " veritism," as 
it is called, has brought out a rich crop 
of blunders. It will not do to have a 
character in a story simply sing or play 
something ; we must have the names of 
composers and compositions. The ge- 
nial gentleman who enriched musical lit- 
erature with arrangements of Beetho- 
ven's symphonies for violoncello without 
accompaniment has since supplemented 
this feat by creating a German fiddler 
who, when he thinks himself unnoticed, 
plays a sonata for violin and contralto 
voice ; Professor Brander Matthews 
permits one of his heroines to sing 
Schumann's " Warum ? " and one of his 
heroes plays " The Moonlight Concer- 


and musi- 
cal termi- 



A popular 

How to Listen to Music 

to ; " one of Ouida's romantic creatures 
spends hours at an organ " playing the 
grand old masses of Mendelssohn ; " in 
"Moths" the tenor never wearies of 
singing certain "exquisite airs of Pal- 
estrina," which recalls the fact that an 
indignant correspondent of a St. Lou- 
is newspaper, protesting against the 
Teutonism and heaviness of an orches- 
tra conductor's programmes, demanded 
some of the " lighter " works of " Ber- 
lioz and Palestrina." 

Alas ! these things and the many oth- 
ers equally amusing which Mr. G. Suth- 
erland Edwards long ago catalogued in 
an essay on " The Literary Maltreatment 
of Music" are but evidences that even 
cultured folk have not yet learned to 
talk correctly about the art which is prac- 
tised most widely. There is a greater 
need than pianoforte teachers and sing- 
ing teachers, and that is a numerous com- 
pany of writers and talkers who shall 
teach the people how to listen to music 
so that it shall not pass through their 
heads like a vast tonal phantasmagoria, 
but provide the varied and noble de- 
lights contemplated by the composers. 


Ungracious as it might appear, it 
may yet not be amiss, therefore, at the 
very outset of an inquiry into the proper 
way in which to listen to music, to utter 
a warning against much that is written 
on the art. As a rule it will be found 
that writers on music are divided into 
two classes, and that neither of these 
classes can do much good. Too often 
they are either pedants or rhapsodists. 
This division is wholly natural. Mu- 
sic has marfy sides and is a science 
as well as ah art. Its scientific side is 
that on which the pedant generally ap- 
proaches it. He is concerned with 
forms and rules, with externals, to the 
forgetting of that which is inexpressibly 
nobler and higher. But the pedants are 
not harmful, because they are not inter- 
esting ; strictly speaking, they do not 
write for the public at all, but only 
for their professional colleagues. The 
harmful men are the foolish rhapsodists 
who take advantage of the fact that 
the language of music is indeterminate 
and evanescent to talk about the art in 
such a way as to present themselves as 
persons of exquisite sensibilities rather 

CHAP. i. 

A warning 



and rhap- 

How to Listen to Music 

CHAP. I. than to direct attention to the real nat- 
ure and beauty of music itself. To 
them I shall recur in a later chapter de- 
voted to musical criticism, and haply 
point out the difference between good 
and bad critics and commentators from 
the view -point of popular need and 
popular opportunity. 


Recognition of Musical Elements 

MUSIC is dual in its nature; it is 
material as well as spiritual. Its 
material side we apprehend through 
{ the sense of hearing, and comprehend 
through the intellect ; its spiritual side 
reaches us through the fancy (or imagi- 
nation, so 'it be music of the highest 
class), and the emotional part of us. If 
the scope and capacity of the art, and 
the evolutionary processes which its 
history discloses (a record of which is 
preserved in its nomenclature), are to 
be understood, it is essential that this 
duality be kept in view. There is 
something so potent and elemental in 
the appeal which music makes that it 
is possible to derive pleasure from 
even an unwilling hearing or a hearing 
unaccompanied by effort at analysis ; 

The nature 
of music. 



of intelli- 
gent hear- 

How to Listen to Music 

but real appreciation of its beauty, 
which means recognition of the quali- 
ties which put it in the realm of art, is 
conditioned upon intelligent hearing. 
The higher the intelligence, the keener 
will be the enjoyment, if the former be 
directed to the spiritual side as well as 
the material. 

So far as music is merely agreeably 
co-ordinated sounds, it may be reduced 
to mathematics and its practice to handi- 
craft. But recognition of design is a 
condition precedent to the awakening 
of the fancy or the imagination, and to 
achieve such recognition there must be 
intelligent hearing in the first instance. 
For the purposes of this study, design 
may be held to be Form in its primary 
stages, the recognition of which is pos- 
sible to every listener who is fond of 
music ; it is not necessary that he be 
learned in the science. He need only 
be willing tc let an intellectual process, 
which will bring its own reward, ac- 
company the physical process of hear- 

Without discrimination it is impossi- 
ble to recognize even the crude materials 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

of music, for the first step is already a 
co-ordination of those materials. A 
tone becomes musical material only by 
association with another tone. We 
might hear it alone, study its quality, 
and determine its degree of acuteness 
or gravity (its pitch, as musicians say), 
but it can never become music so long 
as it remains isolated. When we recog- 
nize that it bears certain relationships 
with other tones in respect of time or 
tune (to use simple terms), it has be- 
come for us musical material. We do 
not need to philosophize about the nat- 
ure of those relationships, but we must 
recognize their existence. 

Thus much we might hear if we were 
to let music go through our heads like 
water through a sieve. Yet the step 
from that degree of discrimination to 
a rudimentary analysis of Form is ex- 
ceedingly short, and requires little more 
than a willingness to concentrate the 
attention and exercise the memory. 
Everyone is willing to do that much 
while looking at a picture. Who would 
look at a painting and rest satisfied with 
the impression made upon the sense of 


Tones and 



The begin- 
nings of 



son with a 
model not 

How to Listen to Music 

sight by the colors merely ? No one, 
surely. Yet so soon as we look, so as 
to discriminate between the outlines, to 
observe the relationship of figure to 
figure, we are indulging in intellectual 
exercise. If this be a condition prece- 
dent to the enjoyment of a picture (and 
it plainly is), how much more so is it in 
the case of music, which is intangible 
and evanescent, which cannot pause a 
moment for our contemplation without 
ceasing to be ? 

There is another reason why we must 
exercise intelligence in listening, to 
which I have already alluded in the first 
chapter. Our appreciation of beauty 
in the plastic arts is helped by the cir- 
cumstance that the critical activity is 
largely a matter of comparison. Is the 
picture or the statue a good copy of the 
object sought to be represented ? Such 
comparison fails us utterly in music, 
which copies nothing that is tangibly 
present in the external world. 

It is then necessary to associate the 
intellect with sense perception in listen- 
ing to music. How far is it essential 
that the intellectual process shall go? 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

This book being for the untrained, the 
question might be put thus : With how 
little knowledge of the science can an 
intelligent listener get along ? We are 
concerned only with his enjoyment of 
music or, better, with an effort to in- 
crease it without asking him to be- 
come a musician. If he is fond of the 
art it is more than likely that the capac- 
ity to discriminate sufficiently to recog- 
nize the elements out of which music 
is made has come to him intuitively. 
Does he recognize that musical tones 
are related to each other in respect of 
time and pitch? Then it shall not be 
difficult for him to recognize the three 
elements on which music rests Melody, 
Harmony, and Rhythm. Can he recog- 
nize them with sufficient distinctness to 
seize upon their manifestations while 
music is sounding? Then memory 
shall come to the aid of discrimina- 
tion, and he shall be able to appreciate 
enough of design to point the way to a 
true and lofty appreciation of the beau- 
tiful in music. The value of memory is 
for obvious reasons very great in mu- 
sical enjoyment. The picture remains 


What de- 
gree of 
is neces- 
sary ? 

The Ele- 

Value of 



An inter- 



How to Listen to Music 

upon the wall, the book upon the li- 
brary shelf. If we have failed to grasp 
a detail at the first glance or reading, 
we need but turn again to the picture 
or open the book anew. We may see 
the picture in a changed light, or read 
the poem in a different mood, but the 
outlines, colors, ideas are fixed for fre- 
quent and patient perusal. Music goes 
out of existence with every perform- 
ance, and must be recreated at every 

Not only that, but in the case of all, 
so far as some forms are concerned, and 
of all who are not practitioners in 
others, it is necessary that there shall 
be an intermediary between the com- 
poser and the listener. The written or 
printed notes are not music ; they are 
only signs which indicate to the per- 
former what to do to call tones into ex- 
istence such as the composer had com- 
bined into an art-work in his mind. 
The broadly trained musician can read 
the symbols ; they stir his imagination, 
and he hears the music in his imagi- 
nation as the composer heard it. But 
the untaught music-lover alone can get 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

nothing from the printed page ; he 
must needs wait till some one else shall 
again waken for him the 

" Sound of a voice that is still." 

This is one of the drawbacks which 
are bound up in the nature of music; 
but it has ample compensation in the 
unusual pleasure which memory brings. 
In the case of the best music, familiar- 
ity breeds ever-growing admiration. 
New compositions are slowly received ; 
they make their way to popular appre- 
ciation only by repeated performances ; 
the people like best the songs as well as 
the symphonies which they know. The 
quicker, therefore, that we are in rec- 
ognizing the melodic, harmonic, and 
rhythmic contents of a new composi- 
tion, and the more apt our memory in 
seizing upon them for the operation of 
the fancy, the greater shall be our pleas- 

In simple phrase Melody is a well- 
ordered series of tones heard succes- 
sively ; Harmony, a well-ordered series 
heard simultaneously ; Rhythm, a sym- 
metrical grouping of tonal time units 



The value 
of memory. 



How to Listen to Music 

CHAP. ii. 

of Melody. 


vitalized by accent. The life-blood of 
music is Melody, and a complete con- 
ception of the term embodies within it- 
self the essence of both its companions. 
A succession of tones without harmonic 
regulation is not a perfect element in 
music ; neither is a succession of tones 
which have harmonic regulation but are 
void of rhythm. The, beauty and ex- 
pressiveness, especially the emotional- 
ity, of a musical composition depend 
upon the harmonies which either ac- 
company the melody in the form of 
chords (a group of melodic intervals 
sounded simultaneously), or are latent 
in the melody itself (harmonic intervals 
sounded successively). Melody is Har- 
mony analyzed ; Harmony is Melody 

The fundamental principle of Form 
is repetition of melodies, which are to 
music what ideas are to poetry. Melo- 
dies themselves are made by repetition 
of smaller fractions called motives (a 
term borrowed from the fine arts), 
phrases, and periods, which derive their 
individuality from their rhythmical or 
intervallic characteristics. Melodies are 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

not all of the simple kind which the 
musically illiterate, or the musically ill- 
trained, recognize as " tunes," but they 
all have a symmetrical organization. 
The dissection of a simple folk-tune 
may serve to make this plain and also 
indicate to the untrained how a single 
feature may be taken as a mark of 
identification and a holding-point for 
the memory. Here is the melody of a 
Creole song called sometimes Pov* piti 
Lolotte, sometimes Pov' piti Momzelle 
Zizi, in the patois of Louisiana and 
Martinique : 



It will be as apparent to the eye of one 
who cannot read music as it will to his 
ear when he hears this melody played, 
that it is built up of two groups of notes 
only. These groups are marked off by 
the heavy lines across the staff called 
bars, whose purpose it is to indicate 

2 3 


A melody 

How to Listen to Music 



rhythmical subdivisions in music. The 
second, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh 
of these groups are repetitions merely 
of the first group, which is the germ of 
the melody, but on different degrees of 
the scale ; the fourth and eighth groups 
are identical and are an appendage 
hitched to the first group for the pur- 
pose of bringing it to a close, supplying 
a resting-point craved by man's innate 
sense of symmetry. Musicians call such 
groups cadences. A musical analyst 
would call each group a motive, and say 
that each successive two groups, begin- 
ning with the first, constitute a phrase, 
each two phrases a period, and the two 
periods a melody. We have therefore 
in this innocent Creole tune eight mo- 
tives, four phrases, and two periods ; 
yet its material is summed up in two 
groups, one of seven notes, one of five, 
which only need to be identified and re- 
membered to enable a listener to recog- 
nize something of the design of a com- 
poser if he were to put the melody to 
the highest purposes that melody can 
be put in the art of musical composi- 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

Repetition is the constructive princi- 
ple which was employed by the folk- 
musician in creating this melody ; and 
repetition is the fundamental principle 
in all musical construction. It will suf- 
fice for many merely to be reminded of 
this to appreciate the fact that while the 
exercise of memory is a most necessary 
activity in listening to music, it lies in 
music to make that exercise easy. 
There is repetition of motives, phrases, 
and periods in melody ; repetition of 
melodies in parts ; and repetition of 
parts in the wholes of the larger forms. 

The beginnings of poetic forms are 
also found in repetition ; in primitive 
poetry it is exemplified in the refrain 
or burden, in the highly developed poe- 
try of the Hebrews in parallelism. The 
Psalmist wrote : 

" O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, 
Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. " 

Here is a period of two members, the 
latter repeating the thought of the for- 
mer. A musical analyst might find in 
it an admirable analogue for the first 
period of a simple melody. He would 


in music. 

in poetry. 



Key rela- 




How to Listen to Music 

divide it into four motives : " Rebuke 
me not | in thy wrath | neither chasten 
me | in thy hot displeasure," and point 
out as intimate a relationship between 
them as exists in the Creole tune. The 
bond of union between the motives of 
the melody as well as that in the poe- 
try illustrates a principle of beauty 
which is the most important element in 
musical design after repetition, which is 
its necessary vehicle. It is because this 
principle guides the repetition of the 
tone-groups that together they form a 
melody that is perfect, satisfying, and 
reposeful. It is the principle of key- 
relationship, to discuss which fully 
would carry me farther into musical 
science than I am permitted to go. Let 
this suffice : A harmony is latent in 
each group, and the sequence of groups 
is such a sequence as the experience of 
ages has demonstrated to be most 
agreeable to the ear. 

In the case of the Creole melody the 
listener is helped to a quick apprecia- 
tion of its form by the distinct physiog- 
nomy which rhythm has stamped upon 
it ; and it is by noting such a character- 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

istic that the memory can best be aided 
in its work of identification. It is not 
necessary for a listener to follow all the 
processes of a composer in order to en- 
joy his music, but if he cultivates the 
habit of following the principal themes 
through a work of the higher class he 
will not only enjoy the pleasures of 
memory but will frequently get a 
glimpse into the composer's purposes 
which will stimulate his imagination 
and mightily increase his enjoyment. 
There is nothing can guide him more 
surely to a recognition of the princi- 
ple of unity, which makes a symphony 
to be an organic whole instead of a 
group of pieces which are only ex- 
ternally related. The greatest exem- 
plar of this principle is Beethoven ; and 
his music is the best in which to study 
it for the reason that he so frequently 
employs material signs for the spiritual 
bond. So forcibly has this been im- 
pressed upon me at times that I am 
almost willing to believe that a keen 
analytical student of his music might 
arrange his greater works into groups 
of such as were in process of composi- 





A rhyth- 
mical mo- 
tive pur- 

How to Listen to Music 

tion at the same time without refer- 
ence to his personal history. Take the 
principal theme of the C minor Sym- 
phony for example : 

Allegro con brio. ^ 

This simple, but marvellously preg- 
nant, motive is not only the kernel of 
the first movement, it is the fundamental 
thought of the whole symphony. We 
hear its persistent beat in the scherzo 
as well : 


EJ^T J J J-h-H J J J^ 

and also in the last movement : 


More than this, we find the motive 
haunting the first movement of the 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

pianoforte sonata in F minor, op. 57, 
known as the " Sonata Appassionata," 
now gloomily, almost morosely, procla- 
mative in the bass, now interrogative in 
the treble : 

poco rit. 

Schindler relates that when once he 
asked Beethoven to tell him what the 
F minor and the D minor (Op. 31, No. 2) 
sonatas meant, he received for an answer 
only the enigmatical remark : " Read 
Shakespeare's ' Tempest.' " Many a stu- 
dent and commentator has since read 
the " Tempest " in the hope of finding a 
clew to the emotional contents which 
Beethoven believed to be in the two 
works, so singularly associated, only to 
find himself baffled. It is a fancy, which 
rests perhaps too much on outward 
things, but still one full of suggestion, 
that had Beethoven said : " Hear my C 
minor Symphony," he would have given 
a better starting-point to the imagina- 

2 9 


skips in 
Beethoven t 


The C mi- 
nor Sym- 
fkony and 

How to Listen to Music 

tion of those who are seeking to know 
what the F minor sonata means. Most 
obviously it means music, but it means 
music that is an expression of one of 
those psychological struggles which 
Beethoven felt called upon more and 
more to delineate as he was more and 
more shut out from the companionship 
of the external world. Such struggles 
are in the truest sense of the word tem- 
pests. The motive, which, according 
to the story, Beethoven himself said in- 
dicates, in the symphony, the rappings 
of Fate at the door of human existence, 
is common to two works which are also 
related in their spiritual contents. Sin- 
gularly enough, too, in both cases the 
struggle which is begun in the first 
movement and continued in the third, 
is interrupted by a period of calm reas- 
suring, soul-fortifying aspiration, which 
in the symphony as well as in the so- 
nata takes the form of a theme with va- 
riations. Here, then, the recognition of 
a simple rhythmical figure has helped 
us to an appreciation of the spiritual 
unity of the parts of a symphony, and 
provided a commentary on the poetical 

Recognition of Musical Elements 

contents of a sonata. But the lesson is 
not yet exhausted. Again do we find 
the rhythm coloring the first movement 
of the pianoforte concerto in G major : 


Symphony, concerto, and sonata, as 
the sketch-books of the master show, 
were in process of creation at the same 

Thus far we have been helped in 
identifying a melody and studying re- 
lationships by the rhythmical structure 
of a single motive. The demonstration 
might be extended on the same line 
into Beethoven's symphony in A major, 
in which the external sign of the poeti- 
cal idea which underlies the whole 
work is also rhythmic so markedly so 
that Wagner characterized it most hap- 
pily and truthfully when he said that it 
was "the apotheosis of the dance." 
Here it is the dactyl, U U, which in 

3 1 


G major 

His Sev- 
enth Sym- 

3 2 


Use of a 

How to Listen to Music 

one variation, or another, clings to us 
almost as persistently as in Hood's 
" Bridge of Sighs : " 

" One more unfortunate 

Weary of breath, 
Rashly importunate, 
Gone to her death." 

We hear it lightly tripping in the first 
movement : 

JT3and J^JTl 

gentle, sedate, tender, measured, through 
its combination with a spondee in the 
second : 

J J1|J J; 

cheerily, merrily, jocosely happy in the 
Scherzo : 

J J; 
hymn-like in the Trio : 

and wildly bacchanalian when subjected 
to trochaic abbreviation in the Finale : 

Intervallic characteristics may place 
the badge of relationship upon melodies 

Recognition of Musical Elements 


as distinctly as rhythmic. There is no 


more perfect illustration of this than that 

afforded by Beethoven's Ninth Sym- 

phony. Speaking of the subject of its 


finale, Sir George Grove says : 


"And note while listening to the simple tune 

itself, before the variations begin how very simple 

it is; the plain diatonic scale, not a single chro- 

matic interval, and out of fifty-six notes only three 

not consecutive." * 

Earlier in the same work, while com- 

bating a statement by Lenz that the re- 

semblance between the second subject 

of the first movement and the choral mel- 

ody is a " thematic reference of the most 

striking importance, vindicating the 

unity of the entire work, and placing 

The melo- 

the whole in a perfectly new light," Sir 

dies in 

George says : 


" It is, however, very remarkable that so many of 

the melodies in the Symphony should consist of 

consecutive notes, and that in no less than four 

of them the notes should run up a portion of the 

scale and down again apparently pointing to a 

consistent condition of Beethoven's mind through- 

out this work." 

* " Beethoven and His Nine Symphonies," p. 374. 


How to Listen to 




Like Goethe, Beethoven secreted 
many a mystery in his masterpiece, but 
he did not juggle idly with tones, or 
select the themes of his symphonies at 
hap-hazard; he would be open to the 
charge, however, if the resemblances 
which I have pointed out in the Fifth 
and Seventh Symphonies, and those 
disclosed by the following melodies 
from his Ninth, should turn out through 
some incomprehensible revelation to be 
mere coincidences : 
From the first movement: 

cT dolce. p 

From the second : 

i/ u g; r r +i; r fri r r r i 

i V 


It 1 J q 

1 ! ' JU 

1 r r 'I 

laJ d n* -1 

t 1 t 




Recognition of Musical Elements 

The choral melody 


From a recognition of the beginnings 
of design, to which identification of the 
composer's thematic material and its 
simpler relationships will lead, to so 
much knowledge of Form as will enable 
the reader to understand the later chap- 
ters in this book, is but a step. 


and Form, 

ics to be 


The Content and Kinds of Music 

BEARING in mind the purpose of 
this book, I shall not ask the 
reader to accompany me far afield in 
the region of aesthetic philosophy or 
musical metaphysics. A short excur- 
sion is all that is necessary to make 
plain what is meant by such terms as 
Absolute music, Programme music, 
Classical, Romantic, and Chamber music 
and the like, which not only confront us 
continually in discussion, but stand for 
things which we must know if we would 
read programmes understandingly and 
appreciate the various phases in which 
music presents itself to us. It is inter- 
esting and valuable to know why an art- 
work stirs up pleasurable feelings within 
us, and to speculate upon its relations to 
the intellect and the emotions ; but the 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

circumstance that philosophers have 
never agreed, and probably never will 
agree, on these points, so far as the art 
of music is concerned, alone suffices to 
remove them from the field of this dis- 

Intelligent listening is not conditioned 
upon such knowledge. Even when the 
study is begun, the questions whether 
or not music has a content beyond itself, 
where that content is to be sought, and 
how defined, will be decided in each case 
by the student for himself, on grounds 
which may be said to be as much in his 
nature as they are in the argument. 
The attitude of man toward the art is 
an individual one, and in some of its 
aspects defies explanation. 

The amount and kind of pleasure 
which music gives him are frequently 
as much beyond his understanding and 
control as they are beyond the under- 
standing and control of the man who sits 
beside him. They are consequences 
of just that particular combination of 
material and spiritual elements, just 
that blending of muscular, nervous, and 
cerebral tissues, which make him what 



equation in 


A musical 

How to Listen to Music 

he is, which segregate him as an individ- 
ual from the mass of humanity. We 
speak of persons as susceptible or insus- 
ceptible to music as we speak of good 
and poor conductors of electricity ; and 
the analogy implied here is particularly 
apt and striking. If we were still using 
the scientific terms of a few decades ago 
I should say that a musical fluid might 
yet be discovered and its laws correlated 
with those of heat, light, and electricity. 
Like them, when reduced to its lowest 
terms, music is a form of motion, and it 
should not be difficult on this analogy 
to construct a theory which would ac- 
count for the physical phenomena which 
accompany the hearing of music in some 
persons, such as the recession of blood 
from the face, or an equally sudden suf- 
fusion of the same veins, a contraction 
of the scalp accompanied by chilliness 
or a prickling sensation, or that rough- 
ness of the skin called goose-flesh, " flesh 
moved by an idea, flesh horripilated by 
a thought." 

It has been denied that feelings are the 
content of music, or that it is the mis- 
sion of music to give expression to feel- 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

ings; but the scientific fact remains 
that the fundamental elements of vocal 
music pitch, quality, and dynamic in- 
tensity are the results of feelings work- 
ing upon the vocal organs ; and even if 
Mr. Herbert Spencer's theory be re- 
jected, it is too late now to deny that 
music is conceived by its creators as a 
language of the emotions and so applied 
by them. The German philosopher 
Herbarth sought to reduce the ques- 
tion to an absurdity by expressing sur- 
prise that musicians should still believe 
that feelings could be " the proximate 
cause of the rules of simple and double 
counterpoint ; " but Dr. Stainer found 
a sufficient answer by accepting the 
proposition as put, and directing at- 
tention to the fact that the feelings of 
men having first decided what was 
pleasurable in polyphony, and the rules 
of counterpoint having afterward been 
drawn from specimens of pleasurable 
polyphony, it was entirely correct to 
say that feelings are the proximate cause 
of the laws of counterpoint. 

It is because so many of us have been 
taught by poets and romancers to think 



Origin of 



and coun- 


How com- 
posers hear 

How to Listen to Music 

that there is a picture of some kind, or 
a story in every piece of music, and 
find ourselves unable to agree upon 
the picture or the story in any given 
case, that confusion is so prevalent 
among the musical laity. Composers 
seldom find difficulty in understanding 
each other. They listen for beauty, and 
if they find it they look for the causes 
which have produced it, and in appre- 
hending beauty and recognizing means 
and cause they unvolitionally rise to 
the plane whence a view of the com- 
poser's purposes is clear. Having 
grasped the mood of a composition and 
found that it is being sustained or va- 
ried in a manner accordant with their 
conceptions of beauty, they occupy 
themselves with another kind of dif- 
ferentiation altogether than the misled 
disciples of the musical rhapsodists 
who overlook the general design and 
miss the grand proclamation in their 
search for petty suggestions for pict- 
ures and stories among the details of 
the composition. Let musicians testify 
for us. In his romance, " Ein Gluck- 
licher Abend," Wagner says : 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

41 That which music expresses is eternal and 
ideal. It does not give voice to the passion, the 
love, the longing of this or the other individual, 
under these or the other circumstances, but to 
passion, love, longing itself." 

Moritz Hauptmann says : 

" The same music will admit of the most varied 
verbal expositions, and of not one of them can it be 
correctly said that it is exhaustive, the right one, 
and contains the whole significance of the music. 
This significance is contained most definitely in the 
music itself. It is not music that is ambiguous ; it 
says the same thing to everybody ; it speaks to 
mankind and gives voice only to human feelings. 
Ambiguity only then makes its appearance when 
each person attempts to formulate in his manner 
the emotional impression which he has received, 
when he attempts to fix and hold the ethereal 
essence of music, to utter the unutterable." 

Mendelssohn inculcated the same les- 
son in a letter which he wrote to a 
young poet who had given titles to a 
number of the composer's " Songs 
Without Words," and incorporated 
what he conceived to be their senti- 
ments in a set of poems. He sent his 
work to Mendelssohn with the request 
that the composer inform the writer 







" Songs 

Tkt tonal 

How to Listen to Music 

whether or not he had succeeded in 
catching the meaning of the music. 
He desired the information because 
" music's capacity for expression is so 
vague and indeterminate." Mendels- 
sohn replied : 

"You give the various numbers of the book 
such titles as * I Think of Thee,' ' Melancholy,' 
'The Praise of God,' 'A Merry Hunt.' I can 
scarcely say whether I thought of these or other 
things while composing the music. Another might 
find ' I Think of Thee ' where you find ' Melan- 
choly,' and a real huntsman might consider ' A 
Merry Hunt ' a veritable ' Praise of God.' But 
this is not because, as you think, music is vague. 
On the contrary, I believe that musical expression 
is altogether too definite, that it reaches regions and 
dwells in them whither words cannot follow it and 
must necessarily go lame when they make the 
attempt as you would have them do." 

If I were to try to say why musi- 
cians, great musicians, speak thus of their 
art, my explanation would be that they 
have developed, farther than the rest of 
mankind have been able to develop it, 
a language of tones, which, had it been 
so willed, might have been developed 
so as to fill the place now occupied by 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

articulate speech. Herbert Spencer, 
though speaking purely as a scientific 
investigator, not at all as an artist, de- 
fined music as " a language of feelings 
which may ultimately enable men 
vividly and completely to impress 
on each other the emotions they experi- 
ence from moment to moment." We 
rely upon speech to do this now, but 
ever and anon when, in a moment of 
emotional exaltation, we are deserted 
by the articulate word we revert to the 
emotional cry which antedates speech, 
and find that that cry is universally un- 
derstood because it is universally felt. 
More than speech, if its primitive ele- 
ment of emotionality be omitted, more 
than the primitive language of gesture, 
music is a natural mode of expression. 
All three forms have attained their pres- 
ent stage of development through con- 
ventions. Articulate speech has led in 
the development; gesture once occupied 
a high plane (in the pantomimic dance of 
the ancients) but has now retrograded ; 
music, supreme at the outset, then neg- 
lected, is but now pushing forward into 
the place which its nature entitles it to 










How to Listen to Music 

occupy. When we conceive of an art- 
work composed of such elements, and 
foregoing the adventitious helps which 
may accrue to it from conventional idi- 
oms based on association of ideas, we 
have before us the concept of Absolute 
music, whose content, like that of every 
noble artistic composition, be it of tones 
or forms or colors or thoughts expressed 
in words, is that high ideal of goodness, 
truthfulness, and beauty for which all 
lofty imaginations strive. Such art- 
works are the instrumental composi- 
tions in the classic forms ; such, too, 
may be said to be the high type of ideal- 
ized " Programme " music, which, like 
the " Pastoral " symphony of Beethoven, 
is designed to awaken emotions like 
those awakened by the contemplation 
of things, but does not attempt to depict 
the things themselves. Having men- 
tioned Programme music I must, of 
course, try to tell what it is ; but the 
exposition must be preceded by an ex- 
planation of a kind of music which, be- 
cause of its chastity, is set down as the 
finest form of absolute music. This is 
Chamber music. 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

In a broad sense, but one not em- 
ployed in modern definition, Chamber 
music is all music not designed for per- 
formance in the church or theatre. 
(Out-of-door music cannot be consid- 
ered among these artistic forms of aris- 
tocratic descent.) Once, and indeed at 
the time of its invention, the term meant 
music designed especially for the delec- 
tation of the most eminent patrons of 
the art the kings and nobles whose 
love for it gave it maintenance and en- 
couragement. This is implied by the 
term itself, which has the same etymol- 
ogy wherever the form of music is 
cultivated. In Italian it is Musica da 
Camera; in French, Musique de Cham- 
bre ; in German, Kammermusik. All the 
terms have a common root. The Greek 
/cajjidpa signified an arch, a vaulted room, 
or a covered wagon. In the time of the 
Prankish kings the word was applied 
to the room in the royal palace in which 
the monarch's private property was 
kept, and in which he looked after his 
private affairs. When royalty took up 
the cultivation of music it was as a pri- 
vate, not as a court, function, and the 




History of 
the term. 

4 6 


a servant. 




How to Listen to Music 

concerts given for the entertainment of 
the royal family took place in the king's 
chamber, or private room. The musi- 
cians were nothing more nor less than 
servants in the royal household. This 
relationship endured into the present 
century. Haydn was a Hausofficier of 
Prince Esterhazy. As vice-chapelmas- 
ter he had to appear every morning in 
the Prince's ante-room to receive orders 
concerning the dinner-music and other 
entertainments of the day, and in the 
certificate of appointment his conduct 
is regulated with a particularity which 
we, who remember him and reverence 
his genius but have forgotten his mas- 
ter, think humiliating in the extreme. 

Out of this cultivation of music in the 
private chamber grew the characteris- 
tics of Chamber music, which we must 
consider if we would enjoy it ourselves 
and understand the great reverence 
which the great masters of music have 
always felt for it. Beethoven was the 
first great democrat among musicians. 
He would have none of the shackles 
which his predecessors wore, and com- 
pelled aristocracy of birth to bow to 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

aristocracy of genius. But such was 
his reverence for the style of music 
which had grown up in the chambers 
of the great that he devoted the last 
three years of his life almost exclusively 
to its composition ; the peroration of 
his proclamation to mankind consists of 
his last quartets the holiest of holy 
things to the Chamber musicians of to- 

Chamber music represents pure 
thought, lofty imagination, and deep 
learning. These attributes are encour- 
aged by the idea of privacy which is 
inseparable from the form. Composers 
find it the finest field for the display of 
their talents because their own skill in 
creating is to be paired with trained 
skill in hearing. Its representative 
pieces are written for strings alone 
trios, quartets, and quintets. With the 
strings are sometimes associated a 
pianoforte, or one or more of the solo 
wind instruments oboe, clarinet, or 
French horn ; and as a rule the com- 
positions adhere to classical lines (see 
Chapter V.). Of necessity the mod- 
esty of the apparatus compels it to fore- 




istics of 

4 8 



How to Listen to Music 

go nearly all the adventitious helps 
with which other forms of composition 
gain public approval. In the delinea- 
tive arts Chamber music shows analogy 
with correct drawing and good com- 
position, the absence of which cannot 
be atoned for by the most gorgeous 
coloring. In no other style is sym- 
pathy between performers and listeners 
so necessary, and for that reason Cham- 
ber music should always be heard in a 
small room with performers and listen- 
ers joined in angelic wedlock. Com- 
munities in which it flourishes under 
such conditions are musical. 

Properly speaking, the term Pro- 
gramme music ought to be applied on- 
ly to instrumental compositions which 
make a frank effort to depict scenes, 
incidents, or emotional processes to 
which the composer himself gives the 
clew either by means of a descriptive 
title or a verbal motto. It is unfortu- 
nate that the term has come to be loose- 
ly used. In a high sense the purest 
and best music in the world is program- 
matic, its programme being, as I have 
said, that "high ideal of goodness, 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

truthfulness, and beauty" which is the 
content of all true art. But the origin 
of the term was vulgar, and the most 
contemptible piece of tonal imitation 
now claims kinship in the popular mind 
with the exquisitely poetical creations 
of Schumann and the " Pastoral " sym- 
phony of Beethoven ; and so it is be- 
come necessary to defend it in the case 
of noble compositions. A programme 
is not necessarily, as Ambros asserts, a 
certificate of poverty and an admission 
on the part of the composer that his art 
has got beyond its natural bounds. 
Whether it be merely a suggestive title, 
as in the case of some of the composi- 
tions of Beethoven, Schumann, and Men- 
delssohn, or an extended commentary, 
as in the symphonic poems of Liszt 
and the symphonies of Berlioz and Raff, 
the programme has a distinct value to 
the composer as well as the hearer. It 
can make the perceptive sense more im- 
pressible to the influence of the music ; 
it can quicken the fancy, and fire the 
imagination ; it can prevent a gross mis- 
conception of the intentions of a com- 
poser and the character of his composi- 



The value 
of super- 

How to Listen to Music 


The rule 
of judg- 

of Pro- 

tion. Nevertheless, in determining the 
artistic value of the work, the question 
goes not to the ingenuity of the pro- 
gramme or the clearness with which its 
suggestions have been carried out, but 
to the beauty of the music itself irre- 
spective of the verbal commentary ac- 
companying it. This rule must be 
maintained in order to prevent a deg- 
radation of the object of musical ex- 
pression. The vile, the ugly, the pain- 
ful are not fit subjects for music ; music 
renounces, contravenes, negatives itself 
when it attempts their delineation. 

A classification of Programme music 
might be made on these lines : 

I. Descriptive pieces which rest on 
imitation or suggestion of natural 

II. Pieces whose contents are purely 
musical, but the mood of which is sug- 
gested by a poetical title. 

III. Pieces in which the influence 
which determined their form and de- 
velopment is indicated not only by a 
title but also by a motto which is relied 
upon to mark out a train of thought for 
the listener which' will bring his fancy 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

into union with that of the composer. 
The motto may be verbal or pictorial. 

IV. Symphonies or other composite 
works which have a title to indicate 
their general character, supplemented 
by explanatory superscriptions for each 

The first of these divisions rests upon 
the employment of the lowest form of 
conventional musical idiom. The ma- 
terial which the natural world provides 
for imitation by the musician is exceed- 
ingly scant. Unless we descend to 
mere noise, as in the descriptions of 
storms and battles (the shrieking of 
the wind, the crashing of thunder, and 
the roar of artillery invaluable aids to 
the cheap descriptive writer), we have 
little else than the calls of a few birds. 
Nearly thirty years ago Wilhelm Tap- 
pert wrote an essay which he called 
" Zooplastik in Tonen." He ransacked 
the musical literature of centuries, but 
in all his examples the only animals the 
voices of which are unmistakable are 
four fowls the cuckoo, quail (that is 
the German bird, not the American, 
which has a different call), the cock, and 



of natural 


The night- 

The cat. 

The cuckoo 

How to Listen to Music 

the hen. He has many descriptive 
sounds which suggest other birds and 
beasts, but only by association of idea ; 
separated from title or text they sug- 
gest merely what they are musical 
phrases. A reiteration of the rhythmi- 
cal figure called the " Scotch snap," 
breaking gradually into a trill, is the 
common symbol of the nightingale's 
song, but it is not a copy of that song ; 
three or four tones descending chromat- 
ically are given as the cat's mew, but 
they are made to be such only by plac- 
ing the syllables Mi-au (taken from the 
vocabulary of the German cat) under 
them. Instances of this kind might 
be called characterization, or descrip- 
tion by suggestion, and some of the 
best composers have made use of them, 
as will appear in these pages presently. 
The list being so small, and the lesson 
taught so large, it may be well to give a 
few striking instances of absolutely im- 
itative music. The first bird to collabo- 
rate with a composer seems to have 
been the cuckoo, whose notes 

Cock - oo ! 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

had sounded in many a folk-song- ere 
Beethoven thought of enlisting the lit- 
tle solo performer in his " Pastoral " 
symphony. It is to be borne in mind, 
however, as a fact having some bearing 
on the artistic value of Programme 
music, that Beethoven's cuckoo changes 
his note to please the musician, and, in- 
stead of singing a minor third, he sings 
a major third thus : 

Cuck - oo ! 

As long ago as 1688 Jacob Walter 
wrote a musical piece entitled " Gallina 
et Gallo," in which the hen was delin- 
eated in this theme : 

a. Oallina. x x~ 

II* | y 

-& ug r 

while the cock had the upper voice in 
the following example, his clear chal- 
lenge sounding above the cackling of 
his mate : 



and hen. 



The quail. 

How to Listen to Music 


The most effective use yet made of 
the song of the hen, however, is in " La 
Poule," one of Rameau's " Pieces de 
Clavecin," printed in 1736, a delightful 
composition with this subject : 

Co co co co co co codai, etc. 

The quail's song is merely a mono- 
tonic rhythmical figure to which Ger- 
man fancy has fitted words of pious ad- 
monition : 


Furch-te Gott! 

Lo - be Gott! 

The paucity of examples in this de- 
partment is a demonstration of the state- 

The Content and Kinds- of Music 

ment made elsewhere that nature does 
not provide music with models for imi- 
tation as it does painting and sculpture. 
The fact that, nevertheless, we have 
come to recognize a large number of 
idioms based on association of ideas 
stands the composer in good stead 
whenever he ventures into the domain 
of delineative or descriptive music, and 
this he can do without becoming crudely 
imitative. Repeated experiences have 
taught us to recognize resemblances 
between sequences or combinations of 
tones and things or ideas, and on these 
analogies, even though they be purely 
conventional (that is agreed upon, as 
we have agreed that a nod of the head 
shall convey assent, a shake of the head 
dissent, and a shrug of the shoulders 
doubt or indifference), the composers 
have built up a voluminous vocabulary 
of idioms which need only to be helped 
out by a suggestion to the mind to be 
eloquently illustrative. " Sometimes 
hearing a melody or harmony arouses 
an emotion like that aroused by the con- 
templation of a thing. Minor harmo- 
nies, slow movements, dark tonal col- 




tion of 


Fancy and 

How to Listen to Music 

orings, combine directly to put a mu- 
sically susceptible person in a mood con- 
genial to thoughts of sorrow and death ; 
and, inversely, the experience of sor- 
row, or the contemplation of death, cre- 
ates affinity for minor harmonies, slow 
movements, and dark tonal colorings. 
Or we recognize attributes in music 
possessed also by things, and we consort 
the music and the things, external attri- 
butes bringing descriptive music into 
play, which excites the fancy, internal 
attributes calling for an exercise of the 
loftier faculty, imagination, to discern 
their meaning." * The latter kind is 
delineative music of the higher order, 
the kind that I have called idealized 
programme music, for it is the imag- 
ination which, as Ruskin has said, " sees 
the heart and inner nature and makes 
them felt, but is often obscure, mysteri- 
ous, and interrupted in its giving out of 
outer detail," which is " a seer in the 
prophetic sense, calling the things that 
are not as though they were, and for- 
ever delighting to dwell on that which 

* " Studies in the Wagnerian Drama," p. 22. 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

is not tangibly present." In this kind 
of music, harmony, the real seat of emo- 
tionality in musi~, is an eloquent factor, 
and, indeed, there is no greater mystery 
in the art, which is full of mystery, than 
the fact that the lowering of the second 
tone in the chord, which is the starting- 
point of harmony, should change an ex- 
pression of satisfaction, energetic action, 
or jubilation into an accent of pain or 
sorrow. The major mode is " to do," 
the minor, " to suffer : " 

Hur -rah! 


How near a large number of sugges- 
tions, which are based wholly upon ex- 
perience or association of ideas, lie to 
the popular fancy, might be illustrated 
by scores of examples. Thoughts of re- 
ligious functions arise in us the moment 
we hear the trombones intone a solemn 
phrase in full harmony; an oboe melody 
in sixth-eighth time over a drone bass 
brings up a pastoral picture of a shep- 
herd playing upon his pipe ; trumpets 
and drums suggest war, and so on. The 



and emo-f 

and minor. 


Music and 


How to Listen to Music 

delineation of movement is easier to the 
musician than it is to the poet. Handel, 
who has conveyed the sensation of a 
" darkness which might be felt," in a 
chorus of his " Israel in Egypt," by 
means which appeal solely to the im- 
agination stirred by feelings, has in the 
same work pictured the plague of frogs 
with a frank naiveti which almost up- 
sets our seriousness of demeanor, by 
suggesting the characteristic movement 
of the creatures in the instrumental ac- 
companiment to the arioso, " Their land 
brought forth frogs/* which begins 

Andante. JK. 

fi[\v b V = ^ ^ ** j a * 

i r * * f - 

r i I 

1 X * 



We find the gentle flux and reflux of 
water as if it were lapping a rocky 
shore in the exquisite figure out of 

The Content and Kinds of Music 


which Mendelssohn constructed his 
" Hebrides " overture : 

Alleqro moderate. ^ ^ 

f^rp-i C~* r r *" -\trr~* -^R 


The move- 
ment of 

and low. 

* JLj f J n * i CL< |* J 1 

gpiP-^ ~ \ *> -^ 

^^^^ _ ^ _ _j 

and in fancy we ride on mighty surges 
when we listen to the principal subject 
of Rubinstein's " Ocean " symphony : 

fl j4-^ ^.^J.^J 

fei^-J^ 3_ 1 , | |_^j^=3 = ^g p> | 
tJ "" 3^~- ^mp "" 3 fl 

In none of these instances can the com- 
poser be said to be imitative. Music 
cannot copy water, but it can do what 
water does, and so suggest water. 
Some of the most common devices of 
composers are based on conceptions that 
are wholly arbitrary. A musical tone 
cannot have position in space such as is 
indicated by high or low, yet so famil- 
iar is the association of acuteness of 
pitch with height, and gravity of pitch 
with depth, that composers continually 



Ascent, de- 
scent, and 

How to Listen to Music 

delineate high things with acute tones 
and low things with grave tones, as wit- 
ness Handel in one of the choruses of 
" The Messiah : " 

Glo-ry to God in the highest, 

and peace on earth. 

Similarly, tdb, does Beethoven de- 
scribe the ascent into heaven and the de- 
scent into hell in the Credo of his mass 
in D. Beethoven's music, indeed, is 
full of tone-painting, and because it ex- 
emplifies a double device I make room 
for one more illustration. It is from 
the cantata " Becalmed at Sea, and a 
Prosperous Voyage," and in it the com- 
poser pictures the immensity of the sea 
by a sudden, extraordinary spreading 
out of his harmonies, which is musical, 
and dwelling a long time on the word 
" distance " (Weite), which is rhetorical: 

: . ^.'~^ ^ Jl 


t r r/ 

In der un-ge-heu 'reu Wei 



The Content and Kinds of Music 

The extent to which tone-painting 
is justified is a question which might 
profitably concern us ; but such a dis- 
cussion as it deserves would far exceed 
the limits set for this book, and must be 
foregone. It cannot be too forcibly 
urged, however, as an aid to the listener, 
that efforts at musical cartooning have 
never been made by true composers, and 
that in the degree that music attempts 
simply to copy external things it falls 
in the scale of artistic truthfulness and 
value. Vocal music tolerates more of 
the descriptive element than instrumen- 
tal because it is a mixed art ; in it the 
purpose of music is to illustrate the 
poetry and, by intensifying the appeal 
to the fancy, to warm the emotions. 
Every piece of vocal music, moreover, 
carries its explanatory programme in its 
words. Still more tolerable and even 
righteous is it in the opera where it is 
but one of several factors which labor 
together to make up the sum of dra- 
matic representation. But it must ever 
remain valueless unless it be idealized. 
Mendelssohn, desiring to put Bully Bot- 
tom into the overture to " A Midsummer 



Bald imi- 
tation bad 

Vocal mu- 
sic and de- 




The " Pas- 

How to Listen to Music 

Night's Dream/' did not hesitate to use 
tones which suggest the bray of a don- 
key, yet the effect, like Handel's frogs 
and flies in " Israel," is one of absolute 
musical value. The canon which ought 
continually to be before the mind of the 
listener is that which Beethoven laid 
down with most painstaking care when 
he wrote the " Pastoral " symphony. 
Desiring to inform the listeners what 
were the images which inspired the va- 
rious movements (in order, of course, 
that they might the better enter into the 
work by recalling them), he gave each 
part a superscription thus : 

I. " The agreeable and cheerful sensations awa- 
kened by arrival in the country, 

II. " Scene by the brook." 

III. " A merrymaking of the country folk." 

IV. "Thunder-storm." 

V. " Shepherds' song feelings of charity com- 
bined with gratitude to the Deity after the storm." 

In the title itself he included an ad- 
monitory explanation which should have 
everlasting validity : " Pastoral Sym- 
phony ; more expression of feeling than 
painting." How seriously he thought 

The Content and Kinds of Music 


on the subject we know from his sketch- 


books, in which occur a number of notes, 


some of which were evidently hints for 

superscriptions, some records of his 

convictions on the subject of descriptive 

music. The notes are reprinted in Not- 

tebohm's " Zweite Beethoveniana," but 

I borrow Sir George Grove's transla- 


" The hearers should be allowed to discover the 


notes on 



" Sinfonia caracteristica, or a recollection of coun- 


try life." 

"All painting in instrumental music, if pushed 

too far, is a failure." 

" Sinfonia pastorella. Anyone who has an idea 

of country life can make out for himself the inten- 

tions of the author without many titles." 

" People will not require titles to recognize the 

general intention to be more a matter of feeling 

than of painting in sounds." 

" Pastoral symphony : No picture, but something 

in which the emotions are expressed which are 

aroused in men by the pleasure of the country 

(or), in which some feelings of country life are set 


* " Beethoven and His Nine Symphonies," by George 

Grove, C.B., 2d ed., p. 191. 

6 4 


Classic and 

How to Listen to Music 

As to the relation of programme to 
music Schumann laid down an admi- 
rable maxim when he said that while 
good music was not harmed by a de- 
scriptive title it was a bad indication if 
a composition needed one. 

There are, among all the terms used 
in music, no words of vaguer meaning 
than Classic and Romantic. The idea 
which they convey most widely in con- 
junction is that of antithesis. When the 
Romantic School of composers is dis- 
cussed it is almost universally presented 
as something opposed in character to 
the Classical School. There is little 
harm in this if we but bear in mind that 
all the terms which have come into use 
to describe different phases of musical 
development are entirely artificial and 
arbitrary that they do not stand for 
anything absolute, but only serve as 
platforms of observation. If the terms 
had a fixed meaning we ought to be 
able, since they have established them- 
selves in the language of history and 
criticism, to describe unambiguously 
and define clearly the boundary which 
separates them. This, however, is im- 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

possible. Each generation, nay, each 
decade, fixes the meaning of the words 
for itself and decides what works shall 
go into each category. It ought to be 
possible to discover a principle, a touch- 
stone, which shall emancipate us from 
the mischievous and misleading notions 
that have so long prompted men to 
make the partitions between the schools 
out of dates and names. 

The terms were borrowed from liter- 
ary criticism ; but even there, in the 
words of Archbishop Trench, "they 
either say nothing at all or say some- 
thing erroneous." Classical has more to 
defend it than Romantic, because it has 
greater antiquity and, in one sense, has 
been used with less arbitrariness. 

" The term," says Trench, " is drawn from the 
political economy of Rome. Such a man was rated 
as to his income in the third class, such another in 
the fourth, and so on, and he who was in the high- 
est was emphatically said to be of the class, classi- 
cus, a class man, without adding the number as in 
that case superfluous ; while all others were infra 
classem. Hence by an obvious analogy the best 
authors were rated as classtcz, or men of the high- 
est class ; just as in English we say 4 men of rank ' 


of ' ' classi- 



in litera- 

How to Listen to Music 

absolutely for men who are in the highest ranks of 
the State." 

Thus Trench, and his historical defi- 
nition, explains why in music also there 
is something more than a lurking sug- 
gestion of excellence in the conception 
of " classical ; " but that fact does not 
put away the quarrel which we feel 
exists between Classic and Romantic. 

As applied to literature Romantic 
was an adjective affected by certain 
poets, first in Germany, then in France, 
who wished to introduce a style of 
thought and expression different from 
that of those who followed old models. 
Intrinsically, of course, the term does 
not imply any such opposition but only 
bears witness to the source from which 
the poets drew their inspiration. This 
was the imaginative literature of the 
Middle Ages, the fantastical stories of 
chivalry and knighthood written in the 
Romance, or Romanic languages, such 
as Italian, Spanish, and Provencal. The 
principal elements of these stories were 
the marvellous and the supernatural. 
The composers whose names first spring 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

into our minds when we think of the 
Romantic School are men like Mendels- 
sohn and Schumann, who drew much of 
their inspiration from the young writers 
of their time who were making war on 
stilted rhetoric and conventionalism of 
phrase. Schumann touches hands with 
the Romantic poets in their strivings in 
two directions. His artistic conduct, 
especially in his early years, is inex- 
plicable if Jean Paul be omitted from 
the equation. His music rebels against 
the formalism which had held despotic 
sway over the art, and also seeks to dis- 
close the beauty which lies buried in the 
world of mystery in and around us, and 
give expression to the multitude of emo- 
tions to which unyielding formalism 
had refused adequate utterance. This, 
I think, is the chief element of Roman- 
ticism. Another has more of an exter- 
nal nature and genesis, and this we find 
in the works of such composers as Von 
Weber, who is Romantic chiefly in his 
operas, because of the supernaturalism 
and chivalry in their stories, and Men- 
delssohn, who, while distinctly Roman- 
tic in many of his strivings, was yet so 

6 7 


and Jean 





A defini- 
tion of 
" Classi- 
cal" in 

The crea- 
tive and 
tive prin- 

How to Listen to Music 

great a master of form, and so attached 
to it, that the Romantic side of him was 
not fully developed. 

If I were to attempt a definition it 
would be this : Classical composers are 
those of the first rank (to this extent we 
yield to the ancient Roman conception) 
who have developed music to the high- 
est pitch of perfection on its formal side 
and, in obedience to generally accepted 
laws, preferring aesthetic beauty, pure 
and simple, over emotional content, or, 
at any rate, refusing to sacrifice form 
to characteristic expression. Romantic 
composers are those who have sought 
their ideals in other regions and striven 
to give expression to them irrespective 
of the restrictions and limitations of 
form and the conventions of law com- 
posers with whom, in brief, content out- 
weighs manner. This definition pre- 
sents Classicism as the regulative and 
conservative principle in the history of 
the art, and Romanticism as the pro- 
gressive, regenerative, and creative 
principle. It is easy to see how the no- 
tion of contest between them grew up, 
and the only harm which can come from 

The Content and Kinds of Music 

such a notion will ensue only if we shut 
our eyes to the fact that it is a contest 
between two elements whose very op- 
position stimulates life, and whose union, 
perfect, peaceful, mutually supplement- 
al, is found in every really great art- 
work. No law which fixes, and hence 
limits, form, can remain valid forever. 
Its end is served when it enforces it- 
self long enough to keep lawlessness in 
check till the test of time has deter- 
mined what is sound, sweet, and whole- 
some in the innovations which are 
always crowding eagerly into every 
creative activity in art and science. In 
art it is ever true, as Faust concludes, 
that " In the beginning was the deed." 
The laws of composition are the prod- 
ucts of compositions; and, being such, 
they cannot remain unalterable so long 
as the impulse freshly to create remains. 
All great men are ahead of their time, 
and in all great music, no matter when 
written, you shall find instances of pro- 
founder meaning and deeper or newer 
feeling than marked the generality of 
contemporary compositions. So Bach 
frequently floods his formal utterances 


laws of ne- 
cessity pro- 

Bach and 

7 o 


and con- 

How to Listen to Music 

with Romantic feeling, and the face of 
Beethoven, serving at the altar in the 
temple of Beauty, is transfigured for us 
by divine light. The principles of crea- 
tion and conservation move onward to- 
gether, and what is Romantic to-day be- 
comes Classic to-morrow. Romanticism 
is fluid Classicism. It is the emotional 
stimulus informing Romanticism which 
calls music into life, but no sooner is it 
born, free, untrammelled, nature's child, 
than the regulative principle places 
shackles upon it ; but it is enslaved only 
that it may become and remain art. 

7 1 


The Modern Orchestra 

THE most eloquent, potent, and capa- 
ble instrument of music in the 
world is the modern orchestra. It is 
the instrument whose employment by 
the classical composers and the geniuses 
of the Romantic School in the middle 
of our century marks the high tide of 
the musical art. It is an instrument, 
moreover, which is never played upon 
without giving a great object-lesson in 
musical analysis, without inviting the 
eye to help the ear to discern the cause 
of the sounds which ravish our senses 
and stir up pleasurable emotions. Yet 
the popular knowledge of its constituent 
parts, of the individual value and mission 
of the factors which go to make up its 
sum, is scarcely greater than the popu- 
lar knowledge of the structure of a sym- 

The orches- 
tra as an 


What may 
be heard 
from a 

How to Listen to Music 

phony or sonata. All this is the more 
deplorable since at least a rudimentary 
knowledge of these things might easily 
be gained, and in gaining it the student 
would find a unique intellectual enjoy- 
ment, and have his ears unconscious- 
ly opened to a thousand beauties in 
the music never perceived before. He 
would learn, for instance, to distinguish 
the characteristic timbre of each of the 
instruments in the band ; and after that 
to the delight found in what may be 
called the primary colors he would add 
that which comes from analyzing the 
vast number of tints which are the prod- 
ucts of combination. Noting the ca- 
pacity of the various instruments and 
the manner in which they are employed, 
he would get glimpses into the mental 
workshop of the composer. He would 
discover that there are conventional 
means of expression in his art analogous 
to those in the other arts ; and collating 
his methods with the effects produced, 
he would learn something of the crea- 
tive artist's purposes. He would find 
that while his merely sensuous enjoy- 
ment would be left unimpaired, and the 

The Modern Orchestra 

emotional excitement which is a legiti- 
mate fruit of musical performance un- 
checked, these pleasures would have 
others consorted with them. His intel- 
lectual faculties would be agreeably 
excited, and he would enjoy the pleas- 
ures of memory, which are exemplified 
in music more delightfully and more 
frequently than in any other art, be- 
cause of the rdle which repetition of 
parts plays in musical composition. 

The argument is as valid in the study 
of musical forms as in the study of the 
orchestra, but it is the latter that is 
our particular business in this chapter. 
Everybody listening to an orchestral 
concert recognizes the physical forms 
of the violins, flutes, cornets, and big 
drum ; but even of these familiar instru- 
ments the voices are not always recog- 
nized. As for the rest of the harmoni- 
ous fraternity, few give heed to them, 
even while enjoying the music which 
they produce; yet with a few words 
of direction anybody can study the in- 
struments of the band at an orchestral 
concert. Let him first recognize the 
fact that to the mind of a composer an 






The in- 

How to Listen to Music 

orchestra always presents itself as a 
combination of four groups of instru- 
ments choirs, let us call them, with un- 
willing apology to the lexicographers. 
These choirs are : first, the viols of four 
sorts violins, violas, violoncellos, and 
double-basses, spoken of collectively as 
the " string quartet ; " second, the wind 
instruments of wood (the " wood-winds " 
in the musician's jargon) flutes, oboes, 
clarinets, and bassoons ; third, the wind 
instruments of brass (the " brass") 
trumpets, horns, trombones, and bass 
tuba. In all of these subdivisions there 
are numerous variations which need not 
detain us now. A further subdivision 
might be made in each with reference 
to the harmony voices (showing an anal- 
ogy with the four voices of a vocal 
choir soprano, contralto, tenor, and 
bass) ; but to go into this might make 
the exposition confusing. The fourth 
" choir " (here the apology to the lexi- 
cographers must be repeated with much 
humility and earnestness) consists of the 
instruments of percussion the kettle- 
drums, big drum, cymbals, triangle, bell 
chime, etc. (sometimes spoken of collec- 


V^X^o/X <rf, 


f ffl^YJ 1 

t ~Jfi2i| ^ '-nH 9 

The Modern Orchestra 

lively in the United States as " the bat- 

The disposition of these instruments 
in our orchestras is largely a matter of 
individual taste and judgment in the 
conductor, though the general rule is 
exemplified in the plan given herewith, 
showing how Mr. Anton Seidl has ar- 
ranged the desks for the concerts of 
the Philharmonic Society of New York. 
Mr. Theodore Thomas's arrangement 
differed very little from that of Mr. 
Seidl, the most noticeable difference 
being that he placed the viola-players 
beside the second violinists, where Mr. 
Seidl has the violoncellists. Mr. Seidl's 
purpose in making the change was to 
gain an increase in sonority for the vio- 
la part, the position to the right of the 
stage (the left of the audience) enabling 
the viola-players to hold their instru- 
ments with the F-holes toward the lis- 
teners instead of away from them. The 
relative positions of the harmonious bat- 
talions, as a rule, are as shown in the 
diagram. In the foreground, the vio- 
lins, violas, and 'cellos ; in the middle 
distance, the wood-winds ; in the back- 



are seated. 

Plan of the 
New York 


Selo in- 

How to Listen to Music 

ground, tie brass and the battery ; the 
double-basses flanking the whole body. 
This distribution of forces is dictated 
by considerations of sonority, the most 
assertive instruments the brass and 
drums being placed farthest from the 
hearers, and the instruments of the viol 
tribe, which are the real backbone of 
the band and make their effect by a 
massing of voices in each part, having 
the place of honor and greatest advan- 
tage. Of course it is understood that I 
am speaking of a concert orchestra. In 
the case of theatrical or operatic bands 
the arrangement of the forces is de- 
pendent largely upon the exigencies of 

Outside the strings the instruments 
are treated by composers as solo instru- 
ments, a single flute, oboe, clarinet, or 
other wind instrument sometimes do- 
ing the same work in the development 
of the composition as the entire body of 
first violins. As a rule, the wood-winds 
are used in pairs, the purpose of this 
being either to fill the harmony when 
what I may call the principal thought 
of the composition is consigned to a 

The Modern Orchestra 

particular choir, or to strengthen a 
voice by permitting two instruments 
to play in unison. 

Each choir, except the percussion in- 
struments, is capable of playing in full 
harmony ; and this effect is frequently 
used by composers. In " Lohengrin," 
which for that reason affords to the am- 
ateur an admirable opportunity for or- 
chestral study, Wagner resorts to this 
device in some instances for the sake 
of dramatic characterization. Elsa, a 
dreamy, melancholy maiden, crushed 
under the weight of wrongful accusa- 
tion, and sustained only by the vision 
of a seraphic champion sent by Heaven 
to espouse her cause, is accompanied on 
her entrance and sustained all through 
her scene of trial by the dulcet tones of 
the wood-winds, the oboe most often 
carrying the melody. Lohengrin's su- 
perterrestrial character as a Knight of 
the Holy Grail is prefigured in the har- 
monies which seem to stream from the 
violins, and in the prelude tell of the 
bringing of the sacred vessel of Christ's 
passion to Monsalvat ; but in his chival- 
ric character he is greeted by the mili- 



for har- 
mony ef- 

Wagner s 
tal charac- 



An instru- 




How to Listen to Music 

tant trumpets in a strain of brilliant 
puissance and rhythmic energy. Com- 
posers have studied the voices of the 
instruments so long and well, and have 
noted the kind of melodies and harmo- 
nies in which the voices are most effec- 
tive, that they have formulated what 
might almost be called an instrumental 
language. Though the effective capac- 
ity of each instrument is restricted not 
only by its mechanics, but also by the 
quality of its tones a melody conceived 
for one instrument sometimes becoming 
utterly inexpressive and unbeautiful by 
transferrence to another the range of 
effects is extended almost to infinity by 
means of combination, or, as a painter 
might say, by mixing the colors. The 
art of writing effectively for instru 
ments in combination is the art of in- 
strumentation or orchestration, in which 
Berlioz and Wagner were Past Grand 

The number of instruments of each 
kind in an orchestra may also be said to 
depend measurably upon the music, or 
the use to which the band is to be put. 
Neither in instruments nor in numbers 

The Modern Orchestra 

is there absolute identity between a 
dramatic and a symphonic orchestra. 
The apparatus of the former is general- 
ly much more varied and complex, be- 
cause of the vast development of variety 
in dramatic expression stimulated by 

The modern symphony, especially 
the symphonic poem, shows the influ- 
ence of this dramatic tendency, but 
not in the same degree. A comparison 
between model bands in each depart- 
ment will disclose what is called the 
normal orchestral organization. For 
the comparison (see page 82), I select 
the bands of the first Wagner Festival 
held in Bayreuth in 1876, the Philhar- 
monic Society of New York, the Bos- 
ton Symphony Orchestra, and the Chi- 
cago Symphony Orchestra. 

Instruments like the corno di bas- 
setto, bass trumpet, tenor tuba, contra- 
bass tuba, and contra-bass trombone are 
so seldom called for in the music played 
by concert orchestras that they have no 
place in their regular lists. They are 
employed when needed, however, and 
the horns and other instruments are 



and dra- 
matic or- 





Tht string 

How to Listen to Music 

multiplied when desirable effects are to 
be obtained by such means. 



New York 



First violins 





Second violins 






























English horn 














Bassoons .... 





Trumpets or cornets. . . 










Bass trumpet 





Tenor tubas 




Bass tubas 





Contra-bass tuba .... 





Contra-bass trombone . . 
Tympani (pairs) 






Bass drum 





Cymbals (pairs) ....... 










The string quartet, it will be seen, 
makes up nearly three-fourths of a well- 
balanced orchestra. It is the only choir 
which has numerous representation of 

The Modern Orchestra 

its constituent units. This was not al- 
ways so, but is the fruit of development 
in the art of instrumentation which is 
the newest department in music. Vocal 
music had reached its highest point be- 
fore instrumental music made a begin- 
ning as an art. The former was the 
pampered child of the Church, the lat- 
ter was long an outlaw. As late as the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in- 
strumentalists were vagabonds in law, 
like strolling players. They had none 
of the rights of citizenship; the relig- 
ious sacraments were denied them ; 
their children were not permitted to in- 
herit property or learn an honorable 
trade ; and after death the property for 
which they had toiled escheated to 
the crown. After the instruments had 
achieved the privilege of artistic utter- 
ance, they were for a long time mere 
slavish imitators of the human voice. 
Bach treated them with an insight into 
their possibilities which was far in ad- 
vance of his time, for which reason he 
is the most modern composer of the 
first half of the eighteenth century ; but 
even in Handel's case the rule was to 


Old laws 

Early in- 



The mod- 
em band. 

How to Listen to Music 

treat them chiefly as supports for the 
voices. He multiplied them just as he 
did the voices in his choruses, consort- 
ing- a choir of oboes and bassoons, and 
another of trumpets of almost equal 
numbers with his violins. 

The so-called purists in England talk 
a great deal about restoring Handel's 
orchestra in performances of his orato- 
rios, utterly unmindful of the fact that 
to our ears, accustomed to the myriad- 
hued orchestra of to-day, the effect 
would seem opaque, heavy, unbalanced, 
and without charm were a band of 
oboes to play in unison with the vio- 
lins, another of bassoons to double the 
'cellos, and half a dozen trumpets to 
come flaring and crashing into the mu- 
sical mass at intervals. Gluck in the 
opera, and Haydn and Mozart in the 
symphony, first disclosed the charm of 
the modern orchestra with the wind in- 
struments apportioned to the strings so 
as to obtain the multitude of tonal tints 
which we admire to-day. On the lines 
which they marked out the progress 
has been exceedingly rapid and far- 

The Modern Orchestra 

In the hands of the latter-day Ro- 
mantic composers, and with the help 
of the instrument-makers, who have 
marvellously increased the capacity of 
the wind instruments, and remedied 
the deficiencies which embarrassed the 
Classical writers, the orchestra has de- 
veloped into an instrument such as 
never entered the mind of the wildest 
dreamer of the last century. Its range 
of expression is almost infinite. It can 
strike like a thunder-bolt, or murmur 
like a zephyr. Its voices are multitu- 
dinous. Its register is coextensive in 
theory with that of the modern piano- 
forte, reaching from the space immedi- 
ately below the sixth added line under 
the bass staff to the ninth added line 
above the treble staff. These two ex- 
tremes, which belong respectively to 
the bass tuba and piccolo flute, are not 
at the command of every player, but 
they are within the capacity of the in- 
struments, and mark the orchestra's 
boundaries in respect of pitch. The 
gravest note is almost as deep as any in 
which the ordinary human ear can de- 
tect pitch, and the acutest reaches the 


of the 

The ex- 
of range. 



The viols. 

How to Listen to Music 

same extremity in the opposite direc- 

With all the changes that have come 
over the orchestra in the course of the 
last two hundred years, the string quar- 
tet has remained its chief factor. Its 
voice cannot grow monotonous or cloy- 
ing, for, besides its innate qualities, it 
commands a more varied manner of ex- 
pression than all the other instruments 
combined. The viol, which term I shall 
use generically to indicate all the in- 
struments of the quartet, is the only 
instrument in the band, except the harp, 
that can play harmony as well as mel- 
ody. Its range is the most extensive ; 
it is more responsive to changes in ma- 
nipulation ; it is endowed more richly 
than any other instrument with varie- 
ties of timbre ; it has an incomparable 
facility of execution, and answers more 
quickly and more eloquently than any 
of its companions to the feelings of the 
player. A great advantage which the 
viol possesses over wind instruments 
is that, not being dependent on the 
breath of the player, there is practically 
no limit to its ability to sustain tones. 

The Modern Orchestra 

It is because of this long list of good 
qualities that it is relied on to provide 
the staff of life to instrumental music. 
The strings as commonly used show 
four members of the viol family, distin- 
guished among themselves by their 
size, and the quality in the changes of 
tone which grows out of the differences 
in size. The violins (Appendix, Plate I.) 
are the smallest members of the family. 
Historically they are the culmination of 
a development toward diminutiveness, 
for in their early days viols were larger 
than they are now. When the violin of 
to-day entered the orchestra (in the score 
of Monteverde's opera " Orfeo ") it was 
specifically described as a " little French 
violin." Its voice, Berlioz says, is the 
" true female voice of the orchestra." 
Generally the violin part of an orches- 
tral score is two-voiced, but the two 
groups may be split into a great num- 
ber. In one passage in "Tristan und 
Isolde " Wagner divides his first and 
second violins into sixteen groups. 
Such divisions, especially in the higher 
regions, are productive of entrancing 


The viilin. 





How to Listen to Music 

The halo of sound which streams 
from the beginning and end of the 
" Lohengrin " prelude is produced by 
this device. High and close harmonies 
from divided violins always sound ethe- 
real. Besides their native tone quality 
(that resulting from a string stretched 
over a sounding shell set to vibrating 
by friction), the violins have a number 
of modified qualities resulting from 
changes in manipulation. Sometimes 
the strings are plucked (pizzicato), when 
the result is a short tone something like 
that of a banjo with the metallic clang 
omitted ; very dainty effects can thus 
be produced, and though it always 
seems like a degradation of the instru- 
ment so pre-eminently suited to a broad 
singing style, no less significant a sym- 
phonist than Tscha'ikowsky has writ- 
ten a Scherzo in which the violins are 
played pizzicato throughout the move- 
ment. Ballet composers frequently re- 
sort to the piquant effect, but in the 
larger and more serious forms of com- 
position the device is sparingly used. 
Differences in quality and expressive- 
ness of tone are also produced by varied 

The Modern Orchestra 

methods of applying the bow to the 
strings : with stronger or lighter press- 
ure; near the bridge, which renders 
the tone hard and brilliant, and over the 
end of the finger-board, which softens 
it; in a continuous manner (legato), or 
detached (staccato]. Weird effects in 
dramatic music are sometimes pro- 
duced by striking the strings with the 
wood of the bow, Wagner resorting to 
this means to delineate the wicked glee 
of his dwarf Mime, and Meyerbeer to 
heighten the uncanniness of Nelusko's 
wild song in the third act of " L'Afri- 
caine." Another class of effects results 
from the manner in which the strings 
are " stopped " by the fingers of the left 
hand. When they are not pressed 
firmly against the finger - board but 
touched lightly at certain places called 
nodes by the acousticians, so that the 
segments below the finger are permitted 
to vibrate along with the upper por- 
tion, those peculiar tones of a flute-like 
quality called harmonics or flageolet 
tones are produced. These are oftener 
heard in dramatic music than in sym- 
phonies; but Berlioz, desiring to put 


"Col legno 
air arco" 


9 o 

How to Listen to Music 




" Con 

Shakespeare's description of Queen 

" Her wagon-spokes made of long spinner's legs ; 
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ; 
The traces, of the smallest spider's web ; 
The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams " 

into music in his dramatic symphony, 
" Romeo and Juliet," achieved a mar- 
vellously filmy effect by dividing his 
violins, and permitting some of them to 
play harmonics. Yet so little was his 
ingenious purpose suspected when he 
first brought the symphony forward in 
Paris, that one of the critics spoke con- 
temptuously of this effect as sounding 
" like an ill-greased syringe." A quiver- 
ing motion imparted to the fingers of 
the left hand in stopping the strings 
produces a tremulousness of tone akin 
to the vibrato of a singer ; and, like the 
vocal vibrato, when not carried to ex- 
cess, this effect is a potent expression 
of sentimental feeling. But it is much 
abused by solo players. Another modi- 
fication of tone is caused by placing a 
tiny instrument called a sordino, or 
mute, upon the bridge. This clamps 

The Modern Orchestra 

9 1 

the bridge, makes it heavier, and checks 
the vibrations, so that the tone is muted 
or muffled, and at times sounds mys- 

These devices, though as a rule they 
have their maximum of effectiveness ii; 
the violins, are possible also on the 
violas, violoncellos, and double-basses, 
which, as I have already intimated, are 
but violins of a larger growth. The 
pizzicato is, indeed, oftenest heard from 
the double-basses, where it has a much 
greater eloquence than on the violins. 
In music of a sombre cast, the short, 
deep tones given out by the plucked 
strings of the contra-bass sometimes 
have the awfulness of gigantic heart- 
throbs. The difficulty of producing the 
other effects grows with the increase of 
difficulty in handling the instruments, 
this being due to the growing thickness 
of the strings and the wideness of the 
points at which they must be stopped. 
One effect peculiar to them all the 
most used of all effects, indeed, in dra- 
matic music is the tremolo, produced 
by dividing a tone into many quickly 
reiterated short tones by a rapid motion 


on the 


9 2 


The viola. 

How to Listen to Music 

of the bow. This device came into use 
with one of the earliest pieces of dra- 
matic music. It is two centuries old, 
and was first used to help in the mu- 
sical delineation of a combat. With 
scarcely an exception, the varied means 
which I have described can be detected 
by those to whom they are not already 
familiar by watching the players while 
listening to the music. 

The viola is next in size to the violin, 
and is tuned at the interval of a fifth 
lower. Its highest string is A, which is 
the second string of the violin, and its 
lowest C. Its tone, which sometimes 
contains a comical suggestion of a boy's 
voice in mutation, is lacking in incisive- 
ness and brilliancy, but for this it com- 
pensates by a wonderful richness and 
filling quality, and a pathetic and inimi- 
table mournfulnessin melancholy music. 
It blends beautifully with the violon- 
cello, and is often made to double that 
instrument's part for the sake of color 
effect as, to cite a familiar instance, in 
the principal subject of the Andante in 
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. 

The strings of the violoncello (Plate 

The Modern Orchestra 

II.) are tuned like those of the viola, but 
an octave lower. It is the knee-fiddle 
(viola da gamba) of the last century, as 
the viola is the arm-fiddle (viola da brae- 
do), and got its old name from the posi- 
tion in which it is held by the player. 
The 'cello's voice is a bass it might be 
called the barytone of the choir and 
in the olden time of simple writing, lit- 
tle else was done with it than to double 
the bass part one octave higher. But 
modern composers, appreciating its 
marvellous capacity for expression, 
which is next to that of the violin, have 
treated it with great freedom and inde- 
pendence as a solo instrument. Its tone 
is full of voluptuous languor. It is the 
sighing lover of the instrumental com- 
pany, and can speak the language of 
tender passion more feelingly than any 
of its fellows. The ravishing effect of a 
multiplication of its voice is tellingly 
exemplified in the opening of the over- 
ture to " William Tell," which is written 
for five solo 'celli, though it is oftenest 
heard in an arrangement which gives 
two of the middle parts to violas. When 
Beethoven wished to produce the emo- 



The violon- 




The double- 

How to Listen to Music 

tional impression of a peacefully rip- 
pling brook in his " Pastoral " sym- 
phony, he gave a murmuring figure to 
the divided violoncellos, and Wagner 
uses the passionate accents of four of 
these instruments playing in harmony 
to support Siegmund when he is pouring 
out the ecstasy of his love in the first 
act of "Die Walkure." In the love 
scene of Berlioz's " Romeo and Juliet " 
symphony it is the violoncello which 
personifies the lover, and holds con- 
verse with the modest oboe. 

The patriarchal double-bass is known 
to all, and also its mission of providing 
the foundation for the harmonic struct- 
ure of orchestral music. It sounds an 
octave lower than the music written for 
it, being what is called a transposing 
instrument of sixteen-foot tone. Solos 
are seldom written for this instrument 
in orchestral music, though Beethoven, 
with his daring recitatives in the Ninth 
Symphony, makes it a mediator between 
the instrumental and vocal forces. Dra- 
gonetti (1763-1846) and Bottesini (1823- 
1889), two Italians, won great fame as 
solo players on the unwieldy instru- 

The Modern Orchestra 

ment. The latter used a small bass 
viol, and strung it with harp strings; 
but Dragonetti played a full double- 
bass, on which he could execute the 
most difficult passages written for the 

Since the instruments of the wood- 
wind choir are frequently used in solos, 
their acquaintance can easily be made 
by an observing amateur. To this 
division of the orchestra belong the 
gentle accents in the instrumental lan- 
guage. Violent expression is not its 
province, and generally when the band 
is discoursing in heroic style or giving 
voice to brave or angry emotion the 
wood-winds are either silent or are 
used to give weight to the body of tone 
rather than color. Each of the instru- 
ments has a strongly characteristic 
voice, which adapts itself best to a cer- 
tain style of music ; but by use of dif- 
ferent registers and by combinations 
among them, or with the instruments of 
the other choirs, a wide range of ex- 
pression within the limits suggested has 
been won for the wood-winds. 

The flute, which requires no descrip- 



The wood- 

9 6 



How to Listen to Music 

tion, is, for instance, an essentially soul- 
less instrument ; but its marvellous agil- 
ity and the effectiveness with which its 
tones can be blended with others make 
it one of the most useful instruments 
in the band. Its native character, heard 
in the compositions written for it as a 
solo instrument, has prevented it from 
being looked upon with dignity. As a 
rule, brilliancy is all that is expected 
from it. It is a sort of soprano leggier o 
with a small range of superficial feel- 
ings. It can sentimentalize, and, as 
Dryden says, be "soft, complaining," 
but when we hear it pour forth a veri- 
table ecstasy of jubilation, as it does 
in the dramatic climax of Beethoven's 
overture " Leonore No. 3," we marvel 
at the transformation effected by the 
composer. Advantage has also been 
taken of the difference between its high 
and low tones, and now in some roman- 
tic music, as in Raff's " Lenore " sym- 
phony, or the prayer of Agathe in " Der 
Freischiitz," the hollowness of the low 
tones produces a mysterious effect that 
is exceedingly striking. Still the fact 
remains that the native voice of the in- 

The Modern Orchestra 

strument, though sweet, is expression- 
less compared with that of the oboe 
or clarinet. Modern composers some- 
times write for three flutes ; but in the 
older writers, when a third flute is used, 
it is generally an octave flute, or pic- 
colo flute (Plate III.) a tiny instrument 
whose aggressiveness of voice is out of 
all proportion to its diminutiveness of 
body. This is the instrument which 
shrieks and whistles when the band 
is playing at storm-making, to imitate 
the noise of the wind. It sounds an 
octave higher than is indicated by the 
notes in its part, and so is what is called 
a transposing instrument of four-foot 
tone. It revels in military music, which 
is proper, for it is an own cousin to the 
ear-piercing fife, which annually makes 
up for its long silence in the noisy days 
before political elections. When you 
hear a composition in march time, with 
bass and snare drum, cymbals and trian- 
gle, such as the Germans call " Turk- 
ish" or "Janizary" music, you may 
be sure to hear also the piccolo flute. 
The flute is doubtless one of the 
oldest instruments in the world. The 



The pic- 
colo flute. 



The story 
of the 

Reed in- 

How to Listen to Music 

primitive cave-dwellers made flutes of 
the leg -bones of birds and other ani- 
mals, an origin of which a record is pre- 
served in the Latin name tibia. The 
first wooden flutes were doubtless the 
Pandean pipes, in which the tone was 
produced by blowing across the open 
ends of hollow reeds. The present 
method, already known to the ancient 
Egyptians, of closing the upper end, 
and creating the tone by blowing 
across a hole cut in the side, is only a 
modification of the method pursued, 
according to classic tradition, by Pan 
when he breathed out his dejection at 
the loss of the nymph Syrinx, by blow- 
ing across the tuneful reeds which 
were that nymph in her metamorphosed 

The flute or pipe of the Greeks and 
Romans was only distantly related to 
the true flute, but was the ancestor of 
its orchestral companions, the oboe 
and clarinet. These instruments are 
sounded by being blown in at the end, 
and the tone is created by vibrating 
reeds, whereas in the flute it is the re- 
sult of the impinging of the air on the 

The Modern Orchestra 

edge of the hole called the embouchure, 
and the consequent stirring of the col- 
umn of air in the flue of the instrument. 
The reeds are thin slips or blades of 
cane. The size and bore of the in- 
struments and the difference between 
these reeds are the causes of the 
differences in tone quality between 
these relatives. The oboe or hautboy, 
English horn, and the bassoon have 
what are called double reeds. Two 
narrow blades of cane are fitted closely 
together, and fastened with silk on a 
small metal tube extending from the 
upper end of the instrument in the case 
of the oboe and English horn, from the 
side in the case of the bassoon. The 
reeds are pinched more or less tightly 
between the lips, and are set to vibrat- 
ing by the breath. 

The oboe (Plate IV.) is naturally as- 
sociated with music of a pastoral char- 
acter. It is pre-eminently a melody in- 
strument, and though its voice comes 
forth shrinkingly, its uniqueness of tone 
makes it easily heard. It is a most lov- 
able instrument. " Candor, artless grace, 
soft joy, or the grief of a fragile being 




The oboe. 



The Eng- 
lish horn. 

How to Listen to Music 

suits the oboe's accents," says Berlioz. 
The peculiarity of its mouth-piece gives 
its tone a reedy or vibrating quality 
totally unlike the clarinet's. Its natural 
alto is the English horn (Plate V.), which 
is an oboe of larger growth, with curved 
tube for convenience of manipulation. 
The tone of the English horn is fuller, 
nobler, and is very attractive in mel- 
ancholy or dreamy music. There are 
few players on the English horn in this 
country, and it might be set down as 
a rule that outside of New York, Bos- 
ton, and Chicago, the English horn parts 
are played by the oboe in America. 
No melody displays the true character 
of the English horn better than the 
Ranz des Vaches in the overture to Ros- 
sini's " William Tell "that lovely Al- 
pine song which the flute embroiders 
with exquisite ornament. One of the 
noblest utterances of the oboe is the 
melody of the funeral march in Beet- 
hoven's " Heroic " symphony, in which 
its tenderness has beautiful play. It is 
sometimes used effectively in imitative 
music. In Haydn's " Seasons," and 
also in that grotesque tone poem by 

The Modern Orchestra 

Saint-Saens, the " Danse Macabre," it 
gives the cock crow. It is the timid 
oboe that sounds the A for the orchestra 
to tune by. 

The grave voice of the oboe is heard 
from the bassoon (Plate VI.), where, 
without becoming assertive, it gains a 
quality entirely unknown to the oboe 
and English horn. It is this quality 
that makes the bassoon the humorist 
par excellence of the orchestra. It is a 
reedy bass, very apt to recall to those 
who have had a country education the 
squalling tone of the homely instrument 
which the farmer's boy fashions out of 
the stems of the pumpkin-vine. The 
humor of the bassoon is an unconscious 
humor, and results from the use made 
of its abysmally solemn voice. This 
solemnity in quality is paired with as- 
tonishing flexibility of utterance, so 
that its gambols are always grotesque. 
Brahms permits the bassoon to intone 
the Fuchslied of the German students in 
his " Academic " overture. Beethoven 
achieves a decidedly comical effect by 
a stubborn reiteration of key-note, fifth, 
and octave by the bassoon under a rus- 




An orches- 
tral hu- 



ral e/ects. 

How to Listen to Music 

tic dance intoned by the oboe in the 
scherzo of his " Pastoral " symphony ; 
and nearly every modern composer has 
taken advantage of the instrument's 
grotesqueness. Mendelssohn intro- 
duces the clowns in his " Midsummer- 
Night's-Dream " music by a droll dance 
for two bassoons over a sustained bass 
note from the violoncellos ; but when 
Meyerbeer wanted a very different ef- 
fect, a ghastly one indeed, in the scene 
of the resuscitation of the nuns in his 
" Robert le Diable," he got it by taking 
two bassoons as solo instruments and 
using their weak middle tones, which, 
Berlioz says, have " a pale, cold, ca- 
daverous sound." Singularly enough, 
Handel resorted to a similar device in 
his " Saul," to accompany the vision of 
the Witch of Endor. 

In all these cases a great deal de- 
pends upon the relation between the 
character of the melody and the nature 
of the instrument to which it is set. A 
swelling martial fanfare may be made ab- 
surd by changing it from trumpets to a 
weak-voiced wood-wind. It is only the 
string quartet that speaks all the musical 

The Modern Orchestra 

languages of passion and emotion. The 
double-bassoon is so large an instrument 
that it has to be bent on itself to bring 
it under the control of the player. It 
sounds an octave lower than the written 
notes. It is not brought often into the 
orchestra, but speaks very much to the 
purpose in Brahms's beautiful variations 
on a theme by Haydn, and the glorious 
finale of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. 

The clarinet (Plate VII.) is the most 
eloquent member of the wood -wind 
choir, and, except some of its own mod- 
ifications or the modifications of the 
oboe and bassoon, the latest arrival in 
the harmonious company. It is only a 
little more than a century old. It has 
the widest range of expression of the 
wood-winds, and its chief structural dif- 
ference is in its mouth-piece. It has a 
single flat reed, which is much wider 
than that of the oboe or bassoon, and is 
fastened by a metallic band and screw 
to the flattened side of the mouth-piece, 
whose other side is cut down, chisel 
shape, for convenience. Its voice is rich, 
mellow, less reedy, and much fuller and 
more limpid than the voice of the oboe, 



The double 




The bass 

Lips and 

How to Listen to Music 

which Berlioz tries to describe by anal- 
ogy as " sweet-sour." It is very flexible, 
too, and has a range of over three and a 
half octaves. Its high tones are some- 
times shrieky, however, and the full 
beauty of the instrument is only dis- 
closed when it sings in the middle reg- 
ister. Every symphony and overture 
contains passages for the clarinet which 
serve to display its characteristics. 
Clarinets are made of different sizes for 
different keys, the smallest being that 
in E-flat, with an unpleasantly piercing 
tone, whose use is confined to military 
bands. There is also an alto clarinet 
and a bass clarinet (Plate VIII.). The 
bell of the latter instrument is bent 
upward, pipe fashion, and its voice is 
peculiarly impressive and noble. It is a 
favorite solo instrument in Liszt's sym- 
phonic poems. 

The fundamental principle of the in- 
struments last described is the produc- 
tion of tone by vibrating reeds. In the 
instruments of the brass choir, the duty 
of the reeds is performed by the lips of 
the player. Variety of tone in respect 
of quality is produced by variations in 

The Modern Orchestra 

size, shape, and modifications in parts 
like the bell and mouth-piece. The forte 
of the orchestra receives the bulk of its 
puissance from the brass instruments, 
which, nevertheless, can give voice to 
an extensive gamut of sentiments and 
feelings. There is nothing more cheery 
and jocund than the flourishes of the 
horns, but also nothing more mild and 
soothing than the songs which some- 
times they sing. There is nothing more 
solemn and religious than the harmony 
of the trombones, while " the trumpet's 
loud clangor " is the very voice of a war- 
like spirit. All of these instruments have 
undergone important changes within the 
last few score years. The classical com- 
posers, almost down to our own time, 
were restricted in the use of them be- 
cause they were merely natural tubes, 
and their notes were limited to the 
notes which inflexible tubes can produce. 
Within this century, however, they have 
all been transformed from imperfect 
diatonic instruments to perfect chro- 
matic instruments ; that is to say, every 
brass instrument which is in use now 
can give out all the semitones within its 



The brass 

ments in 
brass in- 



Valves and 




How to Listen to Music 

compass. This has been accomplished 
through the agency of valves, by means 
of which differing lengths of the sono- 
rous tube are brought within the com- 
mand of the players. In the case of the 
trombones an exceedingly venerable 
means of accomplishing the same end 
is applied. The tube is in part made 
double, one part sliding over the other. 
By moving his arm, the player length- 
ens or shortens the tube, and thus chang- 
ing the key of the instrument, acquires 
all the tones which can be obtained 
from so many tubes of different lengths. 
The mouth-pieces of the trumpet, trom- 
bone, and tuba are cup -shaped, and 
larger than the mouth-piece of the horn, 
which is little else than a flare of the 
slender tube, sufficiently wide to receive 
enough of the player's lips to form the 
embouchure, or human reed, as it might 
here be named 

The French horn (Plate IX.), as it is 
called in the orchestra, is the sweetest 
and mellowest of all the wind instru- 
ments. In Beethoven's time it was but 
little else than the old hunting-horn, 
which, for the convenience of the 

The Modern Orchestra 

mounted hunter, was arranged in spiral 
convolutions that it might be slipped 
over the head and carried resting on 
one shoulder and under the opposite 
arm. The Germans still call it the 
Waldhorn, i.e., " forest horn ; " the old 
French name was cor de chasse, the 
Italian corno di caccia. In this instru- 
ment formerly the tones which were 
not the natural resonances of the har- 
monic division of the tube were helped 
out by partly closing the bell with the 
right hand, it having been discovered 
accidentally that by putting the hand 
into the lower end of the tube the flar- 
ing part called the bell the pitch of a 
tone was raised. Players still make use 
of this method for convenience, and 
sometimes because a .composer wishes 
to employ the slightly muffled effect of 
these tones ; but since valves have been 
added to the instrument, it is possible 
to play a chromatic scale in what are 
called the unstopped or open tones. 

Formerly it was necessary to use 
horns of different pitch, and composers 
still respect this tradition, and designate 
the key of the horns which they wish to 



tion oftht 

Kinds of 




The cornet. 

How to Listen to Music 

have employed ; but so skilful have the 
players become that, as a rule, they use 
horns whose fundamental tone is F for 
all keys, and achieve the old purpose 
by simply transposing the music as 
they read it. If these most graceful 
instruments were straightened out they 
would be seventeen feet long. The con- 
volutions of the horn and the many turns 
of the trumpet are all the fruit of neces- 
sity ; they could not be manipulated to 
produce the tones that are asked of 
them if they were not bent and curved. 
The trumpet, when its tube is length- 
ened by the addition of crooks for its 
lowest key, is eight feet long ; the tuba, 
sixteen. In most orchestras (in all of 
those in the United States, in fact, ex- 
cept the Boston and Chicago Orches- 
tras and the Symphony Society of New 
York) the word trumpet is merely a 
euphemism for cornet, the familiar lead- 
ing instrument of the brass band, which, 
while it falls short of the trumpet in 
the quality of its tone, in the upper reg- 
isters especially, is a more easily ma- 
nipulated instrument than the trumpet, 
and is preferable in the lower tones. 

The Modern Orchestra 

Mendelssohn is quoted as saying 
that the trombones (Plate X.) " are too 
sacred to use often." They have, in- 
deed, a majesty and nobility all their 
own, and the lowest use to which they 
can be put is to furnish a flaring and 
noisy harmony in an orchestral tutti. 
They are marvellously expressive in- 
struments, and without a peer in the 
whole instrumental company when a 
solemn and spiritually uplifting effect is 
to be attained. They can also be made 
to sound menacing and lugubrious, de- 
vout and mocking, pompously heroic, 
majestic, and lofty. They are often the 
heralds of the orchestra, and make so- 
norous proclamations. 

The classic composers always seemed 
to approach the trombones with marked 
respect, but nowadays it requires a very 
big blue pencil in the hands of a very un- 
compromising conservatory professor to 
prevent a student engaged on his Opus i 
from keeping his trombones going half 
the time at least. It is an old story how 
Mozart keeps the instruments silent 
through three-fourths of his immortal 
" Don Giovanni," so that they may 







The tuba. 

ments of 

How to Listen to Music 

enter with overwhelming impressive- 
ness along with the ghostly visitor of the 
concluding scene. As a rule, there are 
three trombones in the modern orches- 
tra two tenors and a bass. Formerly 
there were four kinds, bearing the 
names of the voices to which they were 
supposed to be nearest in tone-quality 
and compass soprano, alto, tenor, and 
bass. Full four-part harmony is now per- 
formed by the three trombones and the 
tuba (Plate XL). The latter instru- 
ment, which, despite its gigantic size, 
is exceedingly tractable can " roar you 
as gently as any sucking dove." Far- 
away and strangely mysterious tones 
are got out of the brass instruments, 
chiefly the cornet and horn, by almost 
wholly closing the bell. 

The percussion apparatus of the mod- 
ern orchestra includes a multitude of 
instruments scarcely deserving of de- 
scription. Several varieties of drums, 
cymbals, triangle, tambourine, steel bars 
(Glockenspiel), gongs, bells, and many 
other things which we are now inclined 
to look upon as toys, rather than as 
musical instruments, are brought into 

The Modern Orchestra 

play for reasons more or less fantastic. 
Saint-Saens has even utilized the bar- 
barous xylophone, whose proper place 
is the variety hall, in his " Danse Mac- 
abre." There his purpose was a fan- 
tastic one, and the effect is capital. The 
pictorial conceit at the bottom of the 
poem which the music illustrates is 
Death, as a skeleton, seated on a tomb- 
stone, playing the viol, and gleefully 
cracking his bony heels against the 
marble. To produce this effect, the 
composer uses the xylophone with capi- 
tal results. But of all the ordinary in- 
struments of percussion, the only one 
that is really musical and deserving of 
comment is the kettle-drum. This in- 
strument is more musical than the 
others because it has pitch. Its voice 
is not mere noise, but musical noise. 
Kettle-drums, or tympani, are generally 
used in pairs, though the vast multipli- 
cation of effects by modern composers 
has resulted also in the extension of this 
department of the band. It is seldom 
that more than two pairs are used, a 
good player with a quick ear being able 
to accomplish all that Wagner asks of 











How to Listen to Music 

six drums by his deftness in changing 
the pitch of the instruments. This 
work of tuning is still performed gen- 
erally in what seems a rudimentary 
way, though a German drum-builder 
named Pfund invented a contrivance by 
which the player, by simply pressing 
on a balanced pedal and watching an 
indicator affixed to the side of the 
drums, can change the pitch to any de- 
sired semitone within the range of an 

The tympani are hemispherical brass 
or copper vessels, kettles in short, cov- 
ered with vellum heads. The pitch of 
the instrument depends on the tension 
of the head, which is applied generally 
by key -screws working through the 
iron ring which holds the vellum. 
There is a difference in the size of the 
drums to place at the command of the 
player the octave from F in the first 
space below the bass staff to F on the 
fourth line of the same staff. Formerly 
the purpose of the drums was simply to 
give emphasis, and they were then uni- 
formly tuned to the key-note and fifth 
of the key in which a composition was 

The Modern Orchestra 

set Now they are tuned in many ways, 
not only to allow for the frequent 
change of keys, but also so that they 
may be used as harmony instruments. 
Berlioz did more to develop the drums 
than any composer who has ever lived, 
though Beethoven already manifested 
appreciation of their independent musi- 
cal value. In the last movement of his 
Eighth Symphony and the scherzo of 
his Ninth, he tunes them in octaves, his 
purpose in the latter case being to give 
the opening figure, an octave leap, of the 
scherzo melody to the drums solo. The 
most extravagant use ever made of 
the drums, however, was by Berlioz in 
his " Messe des Morts," where he called 
in eight pairs of drums and ten players 
to help him to paint his tonal picture of 
the terrors of the last judgment. The 
post of drummer is one of the most dif- 
ficult to fill in a symphonic orchestra. 
He is required to have not only a per- 
fect sense of time and rhythm, but also 
a keen sense of pitch, for often the com- 
poser asks him to change the pitch of 
one or both of his drums in the space 
of a very few seconds. He must then 


Pitch of the 

tions of a 


The bass 



How to Listen to Music 

be able to shut all other sounds out of 
his mind, and bring his drums into a 
new key while the orchestra is playing 
an extremely nice task. 

The development of modern orches- 
tral music has given dignity also to the 
bass drum, which, though definite pitch 
is denied to it, is now manipulated in a 
variety of ways productive of striking 
effects. Rolls are played on it with the 
sticks of the kettle-drums, and it has 
been emancipated measurably from the 
cymbals, which in vulgar brass -band 
music are its inseparable companions. 

In the full sense of the term the or- 
chestral conductor is a product of the 
latter half of the present century. Of 
course, ever since concerted music be- 
gan, there has been a musical leader of 
some kind. Mural paintings and carv- 
ings fashioned in Egypt long before 
Apollo sang his magic song and 

" Ilion, like a mist, rose into towers," 

show the conductor standing before his 
band beating time by clapping his 
hands ; and if we are to credit what we 
have been told about Hebrew music, 

The Modern Orchestra 

Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, when 
they stood before their multitudinous 
choirs in the temple at Jerusalem, pro- 
moted synchronism in the performance 
by stamping upon the floor with lead- 
shodden feet. Before the era which de- 
veloped what I might call " star " con- 
ductors, these leaders were but captains 
of tens and captains of hundreds who 
accomplished all that was expected of 
them if they made the performers keep 
musical step together. They were time- 
beaters merely human metronomes. 
The modern conductor is, in a sense not 
dreamed of a century ago, a mediator 
between the composer and the audi- 
ence. He is a virtuoso who plays upon 
men instead of a key -board, upon a 
hundred instruments instead of one. 
Music differs from her sister arts in 
many respects, but in none more than 
in her dependence on the intermediary 
who stands between her and the people 
for whose sake she exists. It is this in- 
termediary who wakens her into life. 

" Heard melodies arc sweet, but those unheard 
Are sweeter," 


ers and in- 


The con- 
ductor a 

How to Listen to Music 

is a pretty bit of hyperbole which in- 
volves a contradiction in terms. An un- 
heard melody is no melody at all, and as 
soon as we have music in which a num- 
ber of singers or instrumentalists are 
employed, the taste, feeling, and judg- 
ment of an individual are essential to its 
intelligent and effective publication. In 
the gentle days of the long ago, when 
suavity and loveliness of utterance and 
a recognition of formal symmetry were 
the " be-all and end-all " of the art, a time- 
beater sufficed to this end ; but now the 
contents of music are greater, the vessel 
has been wondrously widened, the lan- 
guage is become curiously complex and 
ingenious, and no composer of to-day 
can write down universally intelligible 
signs for all that he wishes to say. 
Someone must grasp the whole, ex- 
pound it to the individual factors which 
make up the performing sum and pro- 
vide what is called an interpretation to 
the public. 

That someone, of course, is the con- 
ductor, and considering the progress 
that music is continually making it is 
not at all to be wondered at that he has 

The Modern Orchestra 

become a person of stupendous power 
in the culture of to-day. The one singu- 
larity is that he should be so rare. This 
rarity has had its natural consequence, 
and the conductor who can conduct, in 
contradistinction to the conductor who 
can only beat time, is now a " star." At 
present we see him going from place 
to place in Europe giving concerts in 
which he figures as the principal at- 
traction. The critics discuss his " read- 
ings " just as they do the performances 
of great pianists and singers. A hun- 
dred blowers of brass, scrapers of strings, 
and tootlers on windy wood, labor be- 
neath him transmuting the composer's 
mysterious symbols into living sound, 
and when it is all over we frequently 
find that it seems all to have been done 
for the greater glory of the conductor 
instead of the glory of art. That, how- 
ever, is a digression which it is not nec- 
essary to pursue. 

Questions and remarks have fre- 
quently been addressed to me indica- 
tive of the fact that there is a wide- 
spread popular conviction that the 
mission of a conductor is chiefly orna- 



Star " 





What the 

How to Listen to Music 

mental at an orchestral concert. That 
is a sad misconception, and grows out 
of the old notion that a conductor is 
only a time-beater. Assuming that the 
men of the band have played sufficiently 
together, it is thought that eventually 
they might keep time without the help 
of the conductor. It is true that the 
greater part of the conductor's work is 
done at rehearsal, at which he enforces 
upon his men his wishes concerning the 
speed of the music, expression, and the 
balance of tone between the different 
instruments. But all the injunctions 
given at rehearsal byword of mouth are 
reiterated by means of a system of signs 
and signals during the concert perform- 
ance. Time and rhythm are indicated 
by the movements of the baton, the 
former by the speed of the beats, the 
latter by the direction, the tones upon 
which the principal stress is to fall being 
indicated by the down-beat of the bat- 
on. The amplitude of the movements 
also serves to indicate the conductor's 
wishes concerning dynamic variations, 
while the left hand is ordinarily used in 
pantomimic gestures to control indi- 

The Modern Orchestra 

vidual players or groups. Glances and 
a play of facial expression also assist in 
the guidance of the instrumental body. 
Every musician is expected to count the 
rests which occur in his part, but when 
they are of long duration (and some- 
times they amount to a hundred meas- 
ures or more) it is customary for the 
conductor to indicate the entrance of an 
instrument by a glance at the player. 
From this mere outline of the communi- 
cations which pass between the con- 
ductor and his band it will be seen how 
indispensable he is if music is to have a 
consistent and vital interpretation. 

The layman will perhaps also be 
enabled, by observing the actions of a 
conductor with a little understanding 
of their purposes, to appreciate what 
critics mean when they speak of the 
" magnetism " of a leader. He will un- 
derstand that among other things it 
means the aptitude or capacity for cre- 
ating a sympathetic relationship be- 
tween himself and his men which en- 
ables him the better by various devices, 
some arbitrary, some technical and con- 
ventional, to imbue them with his 



Rests and 




The score. 

Its ar- 

How to Listen to Music 

thoughts and feelings relative to a com- 
position, and through them to body 
them forth to the audience. 

What it is that the conductor has to 
guide him while giving his mute com- 
mands to his forces may be seen in the 
reproduction, in the Appendix, of a page 
from an orchestral score (Plate XII.). 
A score, it will be observed, is a repro- 
duction of all the parts of a composition 
as they lie upon the desks of the players. 
The ordering of these parts in the score 
has not always been as now, but the 
plan which has the widest and longest 
approval is that illustrated in our exam- 
ple. The wood-winds are grouped to- 
gether on the uppermost six staves, the 
brass in the middle with the tympani 
separating the horns and trumpets from 
the trombones, the strings on the lower- 
most five staves. The example has been 
chosen because it shows all the instru- 
ments of the band employed at once (it 
is the famous opening tutti of the tri- 
umphal march of Beethoven's Fifth 
Symphony), and is easy of comprehen- 
sion by musical amateurs for the reason 
that none of the parts requires transpo- 

The Modern Orchestra 

sition except it be an octave up in the 
case of the piccolo, an instrument of 
four-foot tone, and an octave down in the 
case of the double-basses, which are of 
sixteen-foot tone. All the other parts are 
to be read as printed, proper attention 
being given to the alto and tenor clefs 
used in the parts of the trombones and 
violas. The ability to " read score " is 
one of the most essential attributes of a 
conductor, who, if he have the proper 
training, can bring all the parts together 
and reproduce them on the pianoforte, 
transposing those which do not sound 
as written and reading the different 
clefs at sight as he goes along. 





At an Orchestral Concert 

and Popu- 

IN popular phrase all high-class music 
is "classical," and all concerts at 
which such music is played are " classi- 
cal concerts." Here the word is con- 
ceived as the antithesis of " popular," 
which term is used to designate the or- 
dinary music of the street and music- 
hall. Elsewhere I have discussed the 
true meaning of the word and shown its 
relation to " romantic " in the terminol- 
ogy of musical critics and historians. 
No harm is done by using both " classi- 
cal " and " popular " in their common 
significations, so far as they convey a 
difference in character between con- 
certs. The highest popular conception 
of a classical concert is one in which a 
complete orchestra performs sympho- 
nies and extended compositions in allied 

At an Orchestral Concert 


forms, such as overtures, symphonic 
poems, and concertos. Change the 
composition of the instrumental body, 
by omitting the strings and augmenting 
the reed and brass choirs, and you have 
a military band which is best employed 
in the open air, and whose programmes 
are generally made up of compositions 
in the simpler and more easily compre- 
hended forms dances, marches, fan- 
tasias on popular airs, arrangements of 
operatic excerpts and the like. These, 
then, are popular concerts in the broad- 
est sense, though it is proper enough to 
apply the term also to concerts given 
by a symphonic band when the pro- 
gramme is light in character and aims 
at more careless diversion than should 
be sought at a " classical " concert. 
The latter term, again, is commended 
to use by the fact that as a rule the 
music performed at such a concert ex- 
emplifies the higher forms in the art, 
classicism in music being defined as 
that principle which seeks expression 
in beauty of form, in a symmetrical or- 
dering of parts and logical sequence, 
" preferring aesthetic beauty, pure and 


and mili- 
tary bands. 

12 4 

How to Listen to Music 


The Sym- 

ideas about 

simple, over emotional content," as I 
have said in Chapter III. 

As the highest type of instrumental 
music, we take the Symphony. Very 
rarely indeed is a concert given by an 
organization like the New York and 
London Philharmonic Societies, or the 
Boston and Chicago Orchestras, at 
which the place of honor in the scheme 
of pieces is not given to a symphony. 
Such a concert is for that reason also 
spoken of popularly as a "Symphony 
concert," and no confusion would nec- 
essarily result from the use of the term 
even if it so chanced that there was no 
symphony on the programme. What 
idea the word symphony conveys to the 
musically illiterate it would be difficult 
to tell. I have known a professional 
wAter on musical subjects to express 
the opinion that a symphony was noth- 
ing else than four unrelated composi- 
tions for orchestra arranged in a certain 
sequence for the sake of an agreeable 
contrast of moods and tempos. It is 
scarcely necessary to say that the writer 
in question had a very poor opinion of 
the Symphony as an Art-form, and be 

At an Orchestral Concert 

lieved that it had outlived its usefulness 
and should be relegated to the limbo of 
Archaic Things. If he, however, trained 
in musical history and familiar with 
musical literature, could see only four 
unrelated pieces of music in a sym- 
phony by Beethoven, we need not mar- 
vel that hazy notions touching the nat- 
ure of the form are prevalent among 
the untaught public, and that people 
can be met in concert-rooms to whom 
such words as " Symphony in C minor," 
and the printed designations of the dif- 
ferent portions of the work the " move- 
ments," as musicians call them are ut- 
terly bewildering. 

The word symphony has itself a sin- 
gularly variegated history. Like many 
another term in music it was borrowed 
by the modern world from the ancient 
Greek. To those who coined it, how- 
ever, it had a much narrower meaning 
than to us who use it, with only a con- 
ventional change in transliteration, now. 
By cvfifovta the Greeks simply ex- 
pressed the concept of agreement, or 
consonance. Applied to music it meant 
first such intervals as unisons; then 



History of 


How to Listen to Music 


Changes in 

" Pastoral 

the notion was extended to include 
consonant harmonies, such as the fifth, 
fourth, and octave. The study of the 
ancient theoreticians led the musicians 
of the Middle Ages to apply the 
word to harmony in general. Then 
in some inexplicable fashion it came 
to stand as a generic term for instru- 
mental compositions such as toccatas, 
sonatas, etc. Its name was given to 
one of the precursors of the pianoforte, 
and in Germany in the sixteenth cen- 
tury the word Symphoney came to 
mean a town band. In the last century 
and the beginning of this the term was 
used to designate an instrumental intro- 
duction to a composition for voices, 
such as a song or chorus, as also an in- 
strumental piece introduced in a choral 
work. The form, that is the extent and 
structure of the composition, had noth- 
ing to do with the designation, as we 
see from the Italian shepherds' tune 
which Handel set for strings in " The 
Messiah ; " he called it simply fifa, but 
his publishers called it a " Pastoral 
symphony," and as such we still know 
it. It was about the middle of the eigh- 

At an Orchestral Concert 

teenth century that the present signifi- 
cation became crystallized in the word, 
and since the symphonies of Haydn, in 
which the form first reached perfection, 
are still to be heard in our concert- 
rooms, it may be said that all the mas- 
terpieces of symphonic literature are 

I have already hinted at the fact that 
there is an intimate relationship between 
the compositions usually heard at a clas- 
sical concert. Symphonies, symphonic 
poems, concertos for solo instruments 
and orchestra, as well as the various 
forms of chamber music, such as trios, 
quartets, and quintets for strings, or 
pianoforte and strings, are but different 
expressions of the idea which is best 
summed up in the word sonata. What 
musicians call the " sonata form " lies at 
the bottom of them all even those which 
seem to consist of a single piece, like the 
symphonic poem and overture. Pro- 
vided it follow, not of necessity slav- 
ishly, but in its general structure, a cer- 
tain scheme which was slowly developed 
by the geniuses who became the law- 
givers of the art, a composite or cyclical 



The allied 




sonata, and 

What a 

How to Listen to Music 

composition (that is, one composed of a 
number of parts, or movements) is, as 
the case may be, a symphony, concerto, 
or sonata. It is a sonata if it be written 
for a solo instrument like the pianoforte 
or organ, or for one like the violin or 
clarinet, with pianoforte accompaniment. 
If the accompaniment be written for or- 
chestra, it is called a concerto. A sonata 
written for an orchestra is a symphony. 
The nature of the interpreting medium 
naturally determines the exposition of 
the form, but all the essential attributes 
can be learned from a study of the sym- 
phony, which because of the dignity and 
eloquence of its apparatus admits of a 
wider scope than its allies, and must be 
accepted as the highest type, not merely 
of the sonata, but of the instrumental 
art. It will be necessary presently to 
point out the more important modifica- 
tions which compositions of this charac- 
ter have undergone in the development 
of music, but the ends of clearness will 
be best subserved if the study be con- 
ducted on fundamental lines. 

The symphony then, as a rule, is a 
composition for orchestra made up of 

At an Orchestral Concert 

four parts, or movements, which are not 
only related to each other by a bond of 
sympathy established by the keys chosen 
but also by their emotional contents. 
Without this higher bond the unity of 
the work would be merely mechanical, 
like the unity accomplished by sameness 
of key in the old-fashioned suite. (See 
Chapter VI.) The bond of key-relation- 
ship, though no longer so obvious as 
once it was, is yet readily discovered by 
a musician ; the spiritual bond is more 
elusive, and presents itself for recogni- 
tion to the imagination and the feelings 
of the listener. Nevertheless, it is an 
element in every truly great symphony, 
and I have already indicated how it may 
sometimes become patent to the ear 
alone, so it be intelligently employed, 
and enjoy the co-operation of memory. 

It is the first movement of a sym- 
phony which embodies the structural 
scheme called the "sonata form." It 
has a triple division, and Mr. Edward 
Dannreuther has aptly defined it as 
"the triune symmetry of exposition, 
illustration, and repetition." In the 
first division the composer introduces 



The bond of 
unity be- 
tween the 




of subjects. 

of the first 

How to Listen to Music 

the melodies which he has chosen to 
be the thematic material of the move- 
ment, and to fix the character of the 
entire work ; he presents it for identifi- 
cation. The themes are two, and their 
exposition generally exemplifies the 
principle of key-relationship, which was 
the basis of my analysis of a simple 
folk tune in Chapter II. In the case of 
the best symphonists the principal and 
second subjects disclose a contrast, not 
violent but yet distinct, in mood or 
character. If the first is rhythmically 
energetic and assertive masculine, let 
me say the second will be more sedate, 
more gentle in utterance feminine. 
After the two subjects have been in- 
troduced along with some subsidiary 
phrases and passages which the com- 
poser uses to bind them together and 
modulate from one key into another, 
the entire division is repeated. That is 
the rule, but it is now as often "hon- 
ored in the breach" as in the observ- 
ance, some conductors not even hesi- 
tating to ignore the repeat marks in 
Beethoven's scores. 
The second division is now taken up. 

At an Orchestral Concert 

In it the composer exploits his learn- 
ing and fancy in developing his the- 
matic material. He is now entirely 
free to send it through long chains of 
keys, to vary the harmonies, rhythms, 
and instrumentation, to take a single 
pregnant motive and work it out with 
all the ingenuity he can muster ; to force 
it up " steep-up spouts " of passion and 
let it whirl in the surge, or plunge it 
into " steep-down gulfs of liquid fire," 
and consume its own heart. Techni- 
cally this part is called the " free fan- 
tasia " in English, and the Durch- 
fiihrung " working out " in German. 
I mention the terms because they some- 
times occur in criticisms and analyses. 
It is in this division that the genius of 
a composer has fullest play, and there 
is no greater pleasure, no more delight- 
ful excitement, for the symphony-lover 
than to follow the luminous fancy of 
Beethoven through his free fantasias. 
The third division is devoted to a repe- 
tition, with modifications, of the first 
division and the addition of a close. 

First movements are quick and ener- 
getic, and frequently full of dramatic 


fantasia or 
" working- 
out " por- 




Keys and 

How to Listen to Music 

fire. In them the psychological story 
is begun which is to be developed in 
the remaining chapters of the work 
its sorrows, hopes, prayers, or com- 
munings in the slow movement ; its 
madness or merriment in the scherzo; 
its outcome, triumphant or tragic, in 
the finale. Sometimes the first move- 
ment is preceded by a slow introduc- 
tion, intended to prepare the mind of 
the listener for the proclamation which 
shall come with the Allegro. The key 
of the principal subject is set down as 
the key of the symphony, and unless 
the composer gives his work a special 
title for the purpose of providing a hint 
as to its poetical contents (" Eroica," 
" Pastoral," " Faust," " In the Forest," 
"Lenore," " Path6tique," etc.), or to 
characterize its style (" Scotch," " Ital- 
ian," "Irish," "Welsh," "Scandina- 
vian," " From the New World "), it is 
known only by its key, or the number 
of the work (opus) in the composer's 
list. Therefore we have Mozart's 
Symphony " in G minor," Beethoven's 
"in A major," Schumann's "in C," 
Brahms's " in F," and so on. 

At an Orchestral Concert 

The second movement in the sym- 
phonic scheme is the slow movement. 
Musicians frequently call it the Adagio, 
for convenience, though the tempi of 
slow movements ranges from extremely 
slow (Largo) to the border line of fast, as 
in the case of the Allegretto of the Sev- 
enth Symphony of Beethoven. The 
mood of the slow movement is frequent- 
ly sombre, and its instrumental coloring 
dark ; but it may also be consolatory, 
contemplative, restful, religiously uplift- 
ing. The writing is preferably in a 
broadly sustained style, the effect being 
that of an exalted hymn, and this has 
led to a predilection for a theme and 
variations as the mould in which to 
cast the movement. The slow move- 
ments of Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth 
Symphonies are made up of varia- 

The Scherzo is, as the term implies, 
the playful, jocose movement of a sym- 
phony, but in the case of sublime ge- 
niuses like Beethoven and Schumann, 
who blend profound melancholy with 
wild humor, the playfulness is some- 
times of a kind which invites us to 



The second 




How to Listen to Music 

Genesis of 
the Scherzo. 

CHAP. V. thoughtfulness instead of merriment. 
This is true also of some Russian com- 
posers, whose scherzos have the desper- 
ate gayety which speaks from the music 
of a sad people whose merrymaking is 
not a spontaneous expression of exu- 
berant spirits but a striving after self-for- 
getfulness. The Scherzo is the successor 
of the Minuet, whose rhythm and form 
served the composers down to Beet- 
hoven. It was he who substituted the 
Scherzo, which retains the chief formal 
characteristics of the courtly old dance 
in being in triple time and having a sec- 
ond part called the Trio. With the 
change there came an increase in speed, 
but it ought to be remembered that the 
symphonic minuet was quicker than the 
dance of the same name. A tendency 
toward exaggeration, which is patent 
among modern conductors, is threaten- 
ing to rob the symphonic minuet of the 
vivacity which gave it its place in the 
scheme of the symphony. The entrance 

The Trio. o f the Trio is marked by the introduc- 
tion of a new idea (a second minuet) 
which is more sententious than the first 
part, and sometimes in another key, 

At an Orchestral Concert 

the commonest change being from 
minor to major. 

The final movement, technically the 
Finale, is another piece of large dimen- 
sions in which the psychological drama 
which plays through the four acts of 
the symphony is brought to a conclu- 
sion. Once the purpose of the Finale 
was but to bring the symphony to a 
merry end, but as the expressive capac- 
ity of music has been widened, and mere 
play with aesthetic forms has given place 
to attempts to convey sentiments and 
feelings, the purposes of the last move- 
ment have been greatly extended and 
varied. As a rule the form chosen for 
the Finale is that called the Rondo. 
Borrowed from an artificial verse-form 
(the French Rondeaii), this species of 
composition illustrates the peculiarity 
of that form in the reiteration of a 
strophe ever and anon after a new 
theme or episode has been exploited. 
In modern society verse, which has 
grown out of an ambition to imitate 
the ingenious form invented by me- 
diaeval poets, we have the Triolet, which 
may be said to be a rondeau in minia- 


The Finale. 




A Rondo 
pattern in 

forms for 
the Finale. 

How to Listen to Music 

ture. I choose one of Mr. H. C. Bun- 
ner's dainty creations to illustrate the 
musical refrain characteristic of the 
rondo form because of its compactness. 
Here it is : 

" A pitcher of mignonette 

In a tenement's highest casement : 
Queer sort of a flower-pot yet 

That pitcher of mignonette 
Is a garden in heaven set, 

To the little sick child in the basement 
The pitcher of mignonette, 

In the tenement's highest casement." 

If now the first two lines of this poem, 
which compose its refrain, be permitted 
to stand as the principal theme of a mu- 
sical piece, we have in Mr. Bunner's 
triolet a rondo in nuce. There is in It a 
threefold exposition of the theme alter- 
nating with episodic matter. Another 
form for the finale is that of the first 
movement (the Sonata form), and still 
another, the theme and variations. Beet- 
hoven chose the latter for his " Ero- 
ica," and the choral close of his Ninth, 
Dvorak, for his symphony in G major, 
and Brahms for his in E minor. 

I am attempting nothing more than a 

At an Orchestral Concert 

characterization of the symphony, and 
the forms with which I associated it at 
the outset, which shall help the un- 
trained listener to comprehend them as 
unities despite the fact that to the care- 
less hearer they present themselves as 
groups of pieces each one of which is 
complete in itself and has no connec- 
tion with its fellows. The desire of 
composers to have their symphonies ac- 
cepted as unities instead of compages 
of unrelated pieces has led to the adop- 
tion of various devices designed to 
force the bond of union upon the atten- 
tion of the hearer. Thus Beethoven in 
his symphony in C minor not only 
connects the third and fourth move- 
ments but also introduces a reminis- 
cence of the former into the midst of 
the latter ; Berlioz in his " Symphonic 
Fantastique," which is written to what 
may be called a dramatic scheme, makes 
use of a melody which he calls " Vidte 
fixe!' and has it recur in each of the 
four movements as an episode. This, 
however, is frankly a symphony with 
programme, and ought not to be treated 
as a modification of the pure form. 




How en- 



How to Listen to Music 


lation of 

tion of 

Dvorak in his symphony entitled " From 
the New World," in which he has striven 
to give expression to the American 
spirit, quotes the first period of his 
principal subject in all the subsequent 
movements, and then sententiously re- 
capitulates the principal themes of the 
first, second, and third movements in 
the finale ; and this without a sign of 
the dramatic purpose confessed by Ber- 

In the last movement of his Ninth 
Symphony Beethoven calls voices to the 
aid of his instruments. It was a daring 
innovation, as it seemed to disrupt the 
form, and we know from the story of 
the work how long he hunted for the 
connecting link, which finally he found 
in the instrumental recitative. Having 
hit upon the device, he summons each 
of the preceding movements, which are 
purely instrumental, into the presence 
of his augmented forces and dismisses 
it as inadequate to the proclamation 
which the symphony was to make. 
The double-basses and solo barytone 
are the spokesmen for the tuneful host. 
He thus achieves the end of connecting 

At an Orchestral Concert 

the Allegro, Scherzo, and Adagio with 
each other, and all with the Finale, and 
at the same time points out what it is 
that he wishes us to recognize as the in- 
spiration of the whole ; but here, again, 
the means appear to be somewhat ex- 
traneous. Schumann's example, how- 
ever, in abolishing the pauses between 
the movements of the symphony in D 
minor, and having melodic material 
common to all the movements, is a plea 
for appreciation which cannot be mis- 
understood. Before Schumann Men- 
delssohn intended that his "Scotch" 
symphony should be performed with- 
out pauses between the movements, but 
his wishes have been ignored by the 
conductors, I fancy because he having 
neglected to knit the movements to- 
gether by community of ideas, they 
can see no valid reason for the aboli- 
tion of the conventional resting-places. 

Beethoven's augmentation of the 
symphonic forces by employing voices 
has been followed by Berlioz in his 
" Romeo and Juliet," which, though 
called a "dramatic symphony," is a 
mixture of symphony, cantata, and 


of pauses. 

" choral" 


How to Listen to Music 


Increase in. 
the number 
of move- 

opera; Mendelssohn in his "Hymn of 
Praise " (which is also a composite 
work and has a composite title " Sym- 
phony Cantata "), and Liszt in his 
"Faust" symphony, in the finale of 
which we meet a solo tenor and chorus 
of men's voices who sing Goethe's Cho- 
rus mysticus. 

A number of other experiments have 
been made, the effectiveness of which 
has been conceded in individual in- 
stances, but which have failed perma- 
nently to affect the symphonic form. 
Schumann has two trios in his sym- 
phony in B-flat, and his E-flat, the so- 
called " Rhenish," has five movements 
instead of four, there being two slow 
movements, one in moderate tempo 
(Nicht schnell), and the other in slow 
(Feierlick). In this symphony, also, 
Schumann exercises the license which 
has been recognized since Beethoven's 
time, of changing the places in the 
scheme of the second and third move- 
ments, giving the second place to the 
jocose division instead of the slow. 
Beethoven's " Pastoral " has also five 
movements, unless one chooses to take 

At an Orchestral Concert 

the storm which interrupts the " Merry- 
making of the Country Folk " as stand- 
ing toward the last movement as an in- 
troduction, as, indeed, it does in the 
composer's idyllic scheme. Certain it 
is, Sir George Grove to the contrary 
notwithstanding, that the sense of a 
disturbance of the symphonic plan is 
not so vivid at a performance of the 
"Pastoral" as at one of Schumann's 
" Rhenish, " in which either the third 
movement or the so-called " Cathedral 
Scene " is most distinctly an interloper. 
Usually it is deference to the demands 
of a " programme " that influences com- 
posers in extending the formal boun- 
daries of a symphony, and when this is 
done the result is frequently a work 
which can only be called a symphony 
by courtesy. M. Saint-Saens, however, 
attempted an original excursion in his 
symphony in C minor, without any dis- 
coverable, or at least confessed, pro- 
grammatic idea. He laid the work out 
in two grand divisions, so as to have 
but one pause. Nevertheless in each 
division we can recognize, though as 
through a haze, the outlines of the fa- 



of bound- 



Saens's C 




How to Listen to Music 

miliar symphonic movements. In the 
first part, buried under a sequence of 
time designations like this: Adagio 
Allegro moderate Poco adagio, we dis- 
cover the customary first and second 
movements, the former preceded by a 
slow introduction ; in the second divis- 
ion we find this arrangement: Allegro 
moderato Presto Maestoso Allegro, 
this multiplicity of terms affording only 
a sort of disguise for the regulation 
scherzo and finale, with a cropping out 
of reminiscences from the first part 
which have the obvious purpose to im- 
press upon the hearer that the sym- 
phony is an organic whole. M. Saint- 
Saens has also introduced the organ 
and a pianoforte with two players into 
the instrumental apparatus. 

Three characteristics may be said to 
distinguish the Symphonic Poem, which 
in the view of the extremists who fol- 
low the lead of Liszt is the logical out- 
come of the symphony and the only 
expression of its aesthetic principles 
consonant with modern thought and 
feeling. First, it is programmatic 
that is, it is based upon a poetical idea, 

At an Orchestral Concert 

a sequence of incidents, or of soul- 
states, to which a clew is given either 
by the title or a motto ; second, it is 
compacted in form to a single move- 
ment, though as a rule the changing 
phases delineated in the separate move- 
ments of the symphony are also to be 
found in the divisions of the work 
marked by changes in tempo, key, and 
character ; third, the work generally 
has a principal subject of such plas- 
ticity that the composer can body 
forth a varied content by presenting it 
in a number of transformations. 

The last two characteristics Liszt has 
carried over into his pianoforte con- 
certo in E-flat This has four distinct 
movements (viz.: I. Allegro maestoso; 
II. Quasi adagio ; III. Allegretto vivace, 
sckerzando ; IV. Allegro marziale anima- 
fo\ but they are fused into a continuous 
whole, throughout which the principal 
thought of the work, the stupendously 
energetic phrase which the orchestra 
proclaims at the outset, is presented in 
various forms to make it express a great 
variety of moods and yet give unity to 
the concerto. " Thus, by means of this 



Its charac- 

first piano- 
forte con- 







*>td orches- 

How to Listen to Music 

metamorphosis," says Mr. Edward Dann- 
reuther, " the poetic unity of the whole 
musical tissue is made apparent, spite 
of very great diversity of details ; and 
Coleridge's attempt at a definition of 
poetic unity unity in multiety is car- 
ried out to the letter." 

It will readily be understood that the 
other cyclical compositions which I have 
associated with a classic concert, that is, 
compositions belonging to the category 
of chamber music (see Chapter III.), 
and concertos for solo instruments with 
orchestral accompaniment, while con- 
forming to che scheme which I have 
outlined, all have individual character- 
istics conditioned on the expressive ca- 
pacity of the apparatus. The modern 
pianoforte is capable of asserting itself 
against a full orchestra, and concertos 
have been written for it in which it is 
treated as an orchestral integer rather 
than a solo instrument. In the older 
conception, the orchestra, though it 
frequently assumed the privilege of in- 
troducing the subject-matter, played a 
subordinate part to the solo instrument 
in its development. In violin as well as 

At an Orchestral Concert 

pianoforte concertos special opportu- 
nity is given to the player to exploit his 
skill and display the solo instrument 
free from structural restrictions in the 
cadenza introduced shortly before the 
close of the first, last, or both move- 

Cadenzas are a relic of a time when 
the art of improvisation was more 
generally practised than it is now, and 
when performers were conceded to 
have rights beyond the printed page. 
Solely for their display, it became cus- 
tomary for composers to indicate by a 
hold (/c\) a place where the perform- 
er might indulge in a flourish of his 
own. There is a tradition that Mo- 
zart once remarked : " Wherever I 
smear that thing," indicating a hold, 
"you can do what you please;" the 
rule is, however, that the only priv- 
ilege which the cadenza opens to the 
player is that of improvising on mate- 
rial drawn from the subjects already 
developed, and since, also as a rule, 
composers are generally more eloquent 
in the treatment of their own ideas than 
performers, it is seldom that a cadenza 



tions by the 



M. Ysaye's 
opinion of 


How to Listen to Music 

contributes to the enjoyment afforded 
by a work, except to the lovers of tech- 
nique for technique's sake. I never 
knew an artist to make a more sensible 
remark than did M. Ysaye, when on the 
eve of a memorably beautiful perform- 
ance of Beethoven's violin concerto, he 
said: "If I were permitted to consult 
my own wishes I would put my violin 
under my arm when I reach \hefermate 
and say : ' Ladies and gentlemen, we 
have reached the cadenza. It is pre- 
sumptuous in any musician to think that 
he can have anything to say after 
Beethoven has finished. With- your 
permission we will consider my cadenza 
played.' " That Beethoven may him- 
self have had a thought of the same 
nature is a fair inference from the cir- 
cumstance that he refused to leave the 
cadenza in his E-flat pianoforte con- 
certo to the mercy of the virtuosos but 
wrote it himself. 

Concertos for pianoforte or violin are 
usually written in three movements, of 
which the first and last follow the sym- 
phonic model in respect of elaboration 
and form, and the second is a brief move- 

At an Orchestral Concert 

ment in slow or moderate time, which 
has the character of an intermezzo. As 
to the nomenclature of chamber music, it 
is to be noted that unless connected with 
a qualifying word or phrase, " Quartet " 
means a string- quartet. When a piano- 
forte is consorted with strings the work 
is spoken of as a Pianoforte Trio, Quar- 
tet, or Quintet, as the case may be. 

The form of the overture is that of the 
first movement of the sonata, or sym- 
phony, omitting the repetition of the 
first subdivision. Since the original pur- 
pose, which gave the overture its name 
(Ouverture = aperture, opening), was to 
introduce a drama, either spoken or 
lyrical, an oratorio, or other choral 
composition, it became customary for 
the composers to choose the subjects of 
the piece from the climacteric moments 
of the music used in the drama. When 
done without regard to the rules of con- 
struction (as is the case with practically 
all operetta overtures and Rossini's) the 
result is not an overture at all, but a pot- 
pourri, a hotch-potch of jingles. The 
present beautiful form, in which Beet- 
hoven and other composers have shown 




The Over- 




Old styles 
of over- 



How to Listen to Music 

that it is possible to epitomize an entire 
drama, took the place of an arbitrary 
scheme which was wholly aimless, so far 
as the compositions to which they were 
attached were concerned. 

The earliest fixed form of the over- 
ture is preserved to the current lists of 
to-day by the compositions of Bach and 
Handel. It is that established by Lully, 
and is tripartite in form, consisting of a 
rapid movement, generally a fugue, pre- 
ceded and followed by a slow movement 
which is grave and stately in its tread. In 
its latest phase the overture has yielded 
up its name in favor of Prelude (Ger- 
man, Vorspiel), Introduction, or Sym- 
phonic Prologue. The finest of these, 
without borrowing their themes from 
the works which they introduce, but 
using new matter entirely, seek to fulfil 
the aim which Gluck set for himself, 
when, in the preface to "Alceste," he 
wrote : " I imagined that the overture 
ought to prepare the audience for the 
action of the piece, and serve as a kind 
of argument to it." Concert overtures 
are compositions designed by the com- 
posers to stand as independent pieces in- 

At an Orchestral Concert 

stead of for performance in connection 
with a drama, opera, or oratorio. When, 
as is frequently the case, the composer, 
nevertheless, gives them a descriptive 
title ("Hebrides," " Sakuntala "), their 
poetical contents are to be sought in 
the associations aroused by the title. 
Thus, in the instances cited, " Heb- 
rides " suggests that the overture was 
designed by Mendelssohn to reflect the 
mood awakened in him by a visit to the 
Hebrides, more particularly to Fingal's 
Cave (wherefore the overture is called 
the " Fingal's Cave" overture in Ger- 
many) " Sakuntala " invites to a study 
of Kalidasa's drama of that name as 
the repository of the sentiments which 
Goldmark undertook to express in his 

A form which is variously employed, 
for solo instruments, small combina- 
tions, and full orchestra (though seldom 
with the complete modern apparatus), 
is the Serenade. Historically, it is a 
contemporary ol the old suites and 
the first symphonies, and like them it 
consists of a group of short pieces, so 
arranged as to form an agreeable con- 



tive titles. 




The Ser- 
enade in 


How to Listen to Music 

trast with each other, and yet convey a 
sense of organic unity. The character 
of the various parts and their order 
grew out of the purpose for which the 
serenade was originated, which was 
that indicated by the name. In the last 
century, and earlier, it was no uncom- 
mon thing for a lover to bring the 
tribute of a musical performance to his 
mistress, and it was not always a 
" woful ballad " sung to her eyebrow. 
Frequently musicians were hired, and 
the tribute took the form of a nocturnal 
concert. In Shakespeare's " Two Gen- 
tlemen of Verona," Proteus, prompting 
Thurio what to do to win Silvias love, 

44 Visit by night your lady's chamber window 
With some sweet concert : to their instruments 
Tune a deploring dump ; the night's dread silence 
Will well become such sweet complaining griev- 

It was for such purposes that the 
serenade was invented as an instru- 
mental form. Since they were to play 
out of doors, Sir Thurio 's musicians 
would have used wind instruments in- 

At an Orchestral Concert 

stead of viols, and the oldest serenades 
are composed for oboes and bassoons. 
Clarinets and horns were subsequently 
added, and for such bands Mozart wrote 
serenades, some of which so closely 
approach the symphony that they have 
been published as symphonies. A ser- 
enade in the olden time opened very 
properly with a march, to the strains of 
which we may imagine the musicians 
approaching the lady's chamber win- 
dow. Then came a minuet to prepare 
her ear for the " deploring dump " 
which followed, the " dump " of Shake- 
speare's day, like the " dumka" of ours 
(with which I am tempted to associate 
it etymologically), being a mournful 
piece of music most happily character- 
ized by the poet as a " sweet complain- 
ing grievance." Then followed another 
piece in merry tempo and rhythm, then 
a second adagio, and the entertainment 
ended with an allegro, generally in march 
rhythm, to which we fancy the musicians 
departing. The order is exemplified in 
Beethoven's serenade for violin, viola, 
and violoncello, op. 8, which runs thus : 
March; Adagio ; Minuet ; Adagio with 













How to Listen to Music 

episodic Scherzo ; Polacca; Andante (va- 
riations), the opening march repeated. 

The Suite has come back into favor 
as an orchestral piece, but the term no 
longer has the fixed significance which 
once it had. It is now applied to al- 
most any group of short pieces, pleas- 
antly contrasted in rhythm, tempo, and 
mood, each complete in itself yet dis- 
closing an aesthetic relationship with its 
fellows. Sometimes old dance forms 
are used, and sometimes new, such as 
the polonaise and the waltz. The bal- 
let music, which fills so welcome a place 
in popular programmes, may be looked 
upon as such a suite, and the rhythm 
of the music and the orchestral coloring 
in them are frequently those peculiar to 
the dances of the countries in which the 
story of the opera or drama for which 
the music was written plays. The bal- 
lets therefore afford an excellent oppor- 
tunity for the study of local color. Thus 
the ballet music from Massenet's " Cid " 
is Spanish, from Rubinstein's " Fera- 
mors " Oriental, from " Aida " Egyptian 
Oriental rhythms and colorings being 
those most easily copied by composers. 

At an Orchestral Concert 

The other operatic excerpts common 
to concerts of both classes are either be- 
tween-acts music, fantasias on operatic 
airs, or, in the case of Wagner's contribu- 
tions, portions of his dramas which are so 
predominantly instrumental that it has 
been found feasible to incorporate the 
vocal part with the orchestral. In ballet 
music from the operas of the last century, 
some of which has been preserved to the 
modern concert-room, local color must 
not be sought. Gluck's Greeks, like 
Shakespeare's, danced to the rhythms of 
the seventeenth century. Vestris, whom 
the people of his time called " The god of 
the dance," once complained to Gluck 
that his " Iphig6nie en Aulide " did not 
end with a chaconne, as was the rule. 
" A chaconne ! " cried Gluck ; " when 
did the Greeks ever dance a chaconne?" 
" Didn't they? Didn't they ? " answered 
Vestris ; " so much the worse for the 
Greeks. " There ensued a quarrel. 
Gluck became incensed, withdrew the 
opera which was about to be produced, 
and would have left Paris had not Marie 
Antoinette come to the rescue. But 
Vestris got his chaconne. 



Gluck and 



At a Pianoforte Recital 

\ Mr. Pade- 
\ rewski's 
i concerts. 

NO clearer illustration of the magi- 
cal power which lies in music, 
no more convincing proof of the puis- 
sant fascination which a musical artist 
can exert, no greater demonstration of 
the capabilities of an instrument of 
music can be imagined than was af- 
forded by the pianoforte recitals which 
Mr. Paderewski gave in the United 
States during the season of 1895-96. 
More than threescore times in the 
course of five months, in the principal 
cities of this country, did this wonder- 
ful man seat himself in the presence of 
audiences, whose numbers ran into the 
thousands, and were limited only by 
the seating capacity of the rooms in 
which they gathered, and hold them 
spellbound from two to three hours by 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

the eloquence of his playing. Each 
time the people came in a gladsome 
frame of mind, stimulated by the recol- 
lection of previous delights or eager 
expectation. Each time they sat listen- 
ing to the music as if it were an evangel 
on which hung everlasting things. 
Each time there was the same growth 
in enthusiasm which began in deco- 
rous applause and ended in cheers and 
shouts as the artist came back after the 
performance of a herculean task, and 
added piece after piece to a programme 
which had been laid down on generous 
lines from the beginning. The careless 
saw the spectacle with simple amaze- 
ment, but for the judicious it had a 
wondrous interest. 

I am not now concerned with Mr. 
Paderewski beyond invoking his aid in 
bringing into court a form of entertain- 
ment which, in his hands, has proved to 
be more attractive to the multitude than 
symphony, oratorio, and even opera. 
What a world of speculation and curi- 
ous inquiry does such a recital invite 
one into, beginning with the instrument 
which was the medium of communica- 






The piano- 
forte s un- 


How to Listen to Music 

tion between the artist and his hearers ! 
To follow the progressive development 
of the mechanical principles underlying 
the pianoforte, one would be obliged to 
begin beyond the veil which separates 
history from tradition, for the first of 
them finds its earliest exemplification 
in the bow twanged by the primitive 
savage. Since a recognition of these 
principles may help to an understand- 
ing of the art. of pianoforte playing, I 
enumerate them now. They are : 

1. A stretched string as a medium of 
tone production. 

2. A key-board as an agency for ma- 
nipulating the strings. 

3. A blow as the means of exciting 
the strings to vibratory action, by which 
the tone is produced. 

Many interesting glimpses of the 
human mind and heart might we have 
in the course of the promenade through 
the ancient, mediaeval, and modern 
worlds which would be necessary to 
disclose the origin and growth of these 
three principles, but these we must fore- 
go, since we are to study the music of 
the instrument, not its history. Let the 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

knowledge suffice that the fundamental 
principle of the pianoforte is as old as 
music itself, and that scientific learning, 
inventive ingenuity, and mechanical 
skill, tributary always to the genius of 
the art, have worked together for cen- 
turies to apply this principle, until the 
instrument which embodies it in its 
highest potency is become a veritable 
microcosm of music. It is the visible 
sign of culture in every gentle house- 
hold; the indispensable companion of 
the composer and teacher; the in- 
termediary between all the various 
branches of music. Into the study of the 
orchestral conductor it brings a trans- 
lation of all -the multitudinous voices 
of the band ; to the choir-master it rep- 
resents the chorus of singers in the 
church-loft or on the concert-platform ; 
with its aid the opera director fills his 
imagination with the people, passions, 
and pageantry of the lyric drama long 
before the singers have received their 
parts, or the costumer, stage manager, 
and scene - painter have begun their 
work. It is the only medium through 
which the musician in his study can 


cance of the 



of the 

How to Listen to Music 

commune with the whole world of music 
and all its heroes ; and though it may 
fail to inspire somewhat of that sym- 
pathetic nearness which one feels tow- 
ard the violin as it nestles under the 
chin and throbs synchronously with the 
player's emotions, or those wind instru- 
ments into which the player breathes 
his own breath as the breath of life, it 
surpasses all its rivals, save the organ, 
in its capacity for publishing the grand 
harmonies of the masters, for uttering 
their " sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs 
and harping symphonies/' 

This is one side of the picture and 
serves to show why the pianoforte is the 
most universal, useful, and necessary of 
all musical instruments. The other side 
shows its deficiencies, which must also 
be known if one is to appreciate right- 
ly the many things he is called upon 
to note while listening intelligently to 
pianoforte music. Despite all the skill, 
learning, and ingenuity which have been 
spent on its perfection, the pianoforte 
can be made only feebly to approximate 
that sustained style of musical utterance 
which is the soul of melody, and finds 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


its loftiest exemplification in singing. 
To give out a melody perfectly, presup- 
poses the capacity to sustain tones with- 
out loss in power or quality, to bind 
them together at will, and sometimes to 
intensify their dynamic or expressive 
force while they sound. The tone of 
the pianoforte, being produced by a 
blow, begins to die the moment it is cre- 
ated. The history of the instrument's 
mechanism, and also of its technical 
manipulation, is the history of an effort 
to reduce this shortcoming to a mini- 
mum. It has always conditioned the 
character of the music composed for 
the instrument, and if we were not in 
danger of being led into too wide an 
excursion, it would be profitable to 
trace the parallelism which is disclosed 
by the mechanical evolution of the in- 
strument, and the technical and spirit- 
ual evolution of the music composed 
for it. A few points will be touched 
upon presently, when the intellectual 
activity invited by a recital is brought 
under consideration. 

It is to be noted, further, that by a 
beautiful application of the doctrine of 


Lack of 








with drum- 

How to Listen to Music 

compensations, the factor which limits 
the capacity of the pianoforte as a mel- 
ody instrument endows it with a merit 
which no other instrument has in the 
same degree, except the instruments of 
percussion, which, despite their useful- 
ness, stand on the border line between 
savage and civilized music. It is from 
its relationship to the drum that the 
pianoforte derives a peculiarity quite 
unique in the melodic and harmonic 
family. Rhythm is, after all, the start- 
ing-point of music. More than melody, 
more than harmony, it stirs the blood 
of the savage, and since the most vital 
forces within man are those which date 
back to his primitive state, so the sense 
of rhythm is the most universal of the 
musical senses among even the most 
cultured of peoples to-day. By them- 
selves the drums, triangles, and cym- 
bals of an orchestra represent music but 
one remove from noise ; but everybody 
knows how marvellously they can be 
utilized to glorify a climax. Now, in 
a very refined degree, every melody 
on the pianoforte, be it played as deli- 
cately as it may, is a melody with drum- 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

beats. Manufacturers have done much 
toward eliminating the thump of the 
hammers against the strings, and famil- 
iarity with the tone of the instrument 
has closed our ears against it to a great 
extent as something intrusive, but the 
blow which excites the string to vibra- 
tion, and thus generates sound, is yet a 
vital factor in determining the character 
of pianoforte music. The recurrent 
pulsations, now energetic, incisive, reso- 
lute, now gentle and caressing, infuse 
life into the melody, and by emphasizing 
its rhythmical structure (without un- 
duly exaggerating it), present the form 
of the melody in much sharper outline 
than is possible on any other instru- 
ment, and much more than one would 
expect in view of the evanescent char- 
acter of the pianoforte's tone. It is this 
quality, combined with the mechanism 
which places all the gradations of tone, 
from loudest to softest, at the easy and 
instantaneous command of the player, 
which, I fancy, makes the pianoforte, 
in an astonishing degree, a substitute 
for all the other instruments. Each in- 
strument in the orchestra has an idiom, 


cal accent- 

A univer- 
sal substi- 



TTie in- 

How to Listen to Music 

which "sounds incomprehensible when 
uttered by some other of its fellows, but 
they can all be translated, with more or 
less success, into the language of the 
pianoforte not the quality of the tone, 
though even that can be suggested, but 
the character of the phrase. The pi- 
anoforte can sentimentalize like the 
flute, make a martial proclamation like 
the trumpet, intone a prayer like the 
churchly trombone. 

In the intricacy of its mechanism the 
pianoforte stands next to the organ. 
The farther removed from direct utter- 
ance we are the more difficult is it to 
speak the true language of music. The 
violin player and the singer, and in a 
less degree the performers upon some 
of the wind instruments, are obliged to 
form the musical tone which, in the 
case of the pianist, is latent in the instru- 
ment, ready to present itself in two of 
its attributes in answer to a simple 
pressure upon the key. The most un- 
musical person in the world can learn to 
produce a series of tones from a piano- 
forte which shall be as exact in pitch 
and as varied in dynamic force as can 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

Mr. Paderewski. He cannot combine 
them so ingeniously nor imbue them 
with feeling, but in the simple matter of 
producing the tone with the attributes 
mentioned, he is on a level with the 
greatest virtuoso. Very different is the 
case of the musician who must exercise 
a distinctly musical gift in the simple 
evocation of the materials of music, like 
the violinist and singer, who both form 
and produce the tone. For them com- 
pensation flows from the circumstance 
that the tone thus formed and produced 
is naturally instinct with emotional life 
in a degree that the pianoforte tone 
knows nothing of. 

In one respect, it may be said that 
the mechanics of pianoforte playing 
represent a low plane of artistic ac- 
tivity, a fact which ought always to be 
remembered whenever the temptation is 
felt greatly to exalt the technique of the 
art ; but it must also be borne in mind 
that the mechanical nature of simple 
tone production in pianoforte playing 
raises the value of the emotional qual- 
ity which, nevertheless, stands at the 
command of the player. The emotional 



Tone for- 
mation and 




Touch and 

The tech- 
nical cult. 

How to Listen to Music 

potency of the tone must come from 
the manner in which the blow is given 
to the string. Recognition of this fact 
has stimulated reflection, and this in 
turn has discovered methods by which 
temperament and emotionality may be 
made to express themselves as freely, 
convincingly, and spontaneously in 
pianoforte as in violin playing. If 
this were not so it would be impossible 
to explain the difference in the charm 
exerted by different virtuosi, for it has 
frequently happened that the best- 
equipped mechanician and the most in- 
tellectual player has been judged in- 
ferior as an artist to another whose gifts 
were of the soul rather than of the brains 
and fingers. 

The feats accomplished by a piano- 
forte virtuoso in the mechanical depart- 
ment are of so extraordinary a nature 
that there need be small wonder at the 
wide prevalence of a distinctly techni- 
cal cult. All who know the real nature 
and mission of music must condemn 
such a cult. It is a sign of a want of 
true appreciation to admire technique 
for technique's sake. It is a mistaking 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

of the outward shell for the kernel, a 
means for the end. There are still many 
players who aim to secure this admira- 
tion, either because they are deficient in 
real musical feeling, or because they 
believe themselves surer of winning ap- 
plause by thus appealing to the lowest 
form of appreciation. In the early part 
of the century they would have been 
handicapped by the instrument which 
lent itself to delicacy, clearness, and 
gracefulness of expression, but had 
little power. Now the pianoforte has 
become a thing of rigid steel, enduring 
tons of strain from its strings, and hav- 
ing a voice like the roar of many waters ; 
to keep pace with it players have be- 
come athletes with 

" Thews of Anakim 
And pulses of a Titan's heart" 

They care no more for the "mur- 
murs made to bless," unless it be occa- 
sionally for the sake of contrast/ but 
seek to astound, amaze, bewilder, and 
confound with feats of skill and endur- 
ance. That with their devotion to the 
purely mechanical side of the art they 

i6 5 


A low form 
of art. 



skill a 
matter of 

The plan of 
study in 
this chap- 

How to Listen to Music 

are threatening to destroy pianoforte 
playing gives them no pause whatever. 
The era which they illustrate and adorn 
is the technical era which was, is, and 
ever shall be, the era of decay in 
artistic production. For the judicious 
technique alone, be it never so marvel- 
lous, cannot serve to-day. Its posses- 
sion is accepted as a condition precedent 
in the case of everyone who ventures to 
appear upon the concert-platform. He 
must be a wonder, indeed, who can dis- 
turb our critical equilibrium by mere 
digital feats. We want strength and 
velocity of finger to be coupled with 
strength, velocity, and penetration of 
thought. We want no halting or lisp- 
ing in the proclamation of what the 
composer has said, but we want the 
contents of his thought, not the hollow 
shell, no matter how distinctly its out- 
lines be drawn. 

The factors which present themselves 
for consideration at a pianoforte re- 
cital mechanical, intellectual, and emo- 
tional can be most intelligently and 
profitably studied along with the devel- 
opment of the instrument and its music. 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

All branches of the study are invited by 
the typical recital programme. The 
essentially romantic trend of Mr. Pad- 
erewski's nature makes his excursions 
into the classical field few and short ; 
and it is only when a pianist undertakes 
to emulate Rubinstein in his historical 
recitals that the entire pre-Beethoven 
vista is opened up. It will suffice 
for the purposes of this discussion to 
imagine a programme containing pieces 
by Bach, D. Scarlatti, Handel, and Mo- 
zart in one group ; a sonata by Beetho- 
ven ; some of the shorter pieces of 
Schumann and Chopin, and one of the 
transcriptions or rhapsodies of Liszt. 

Such a scheme falls naturally into four 
divisions, plainly differentiated from 
each other in respect of the style of com- 
position and the manner of performance, 
both determined by the nature of the 
instrument employed and the status of 
the musical idea. Simply for the sake 
of convenience let the period repre- 
sented by the first group be called the 
classic ; the second the classic-roman- 
tic ; the third the romantic, and the last 
the bravura. I beg the reader, how- 



A typical 
scheme of 

'Periods in 



sors of the 

How to Listen to Music 

ever, not to extend these designations 
beyond the boundaries of the present 
study ; they have been chosen arbitra- 
rily, and confusion might result if the 
attempt were made to apply them to 
any particular concert scheme. I have 
chosen the composers because of their 
broadly representative capacity. And 
they must stand for a numerous epigonoi 
whose names make up our concert lists : 
say, Couperin, Rameau, and Haydn 
in the first group; Schubert in the sec- 
ond ; Mendelssohn and Rubinstein in 
the third. It would not be respectful 
to the memory of Liszt were I to give 
him the associates with whom in my 
opinion he stands ; that matter may be 
held in abeyance. 

The instruments for which the first 
group of writers down to Haydn and 
Mozart wrote, were the immediate pre- 
cursors of the pianoforte the clavi- 
chord, spinet, or virginal, and harpsi- 
chord. The last was the concert 
instrument, and stood in the same rela- 
tionship to the others that the grand 
pianoforte of to-day stands to the up- 
right and square. The clavichord was 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

generally the medium for the compos- 
er's private communings with his muse, 
because of its superiority over its fel- 
lows in expressive power; but it gave 
forth only a tiny tinkle and was inca- 
pable of stirring effects beyond those 
which sprang from pure emotionality. 
The tone was produced by a blow 
against the string, delivered by a bit of 
brass set in the farther end of the key. 
The action was that of a direct lever, 
and the bit of brass, which was called 
the tangent, also acted as a bridge and 
measured off the segment of string 
whose vibration produced the desired 
tone. It was therefore necessary to 
keep the key pressed down so long as it 
was desired that the tone should sound, 
a fact which must be kept in mind if 
one would understand the shortcomings 
as well as the advantages of the instru- 
ment compared with the spinet or harp- 
sichord. It also furnishes one explana- 
tion of the greater lyricism of Bach's 
music compared with that of his con- 
temporaries. By gently rocking the 
hand while the key was down, a tremu- 
lous motion could be communicated to 



The Clavi- 




Quilled in- 

How to Listen to Music 

the string, which not only prolonged the 
tone appreciably but gave it an expres- 
sive effect somewhat analogous to the 
vibrato of a violinist. The Germans 
called this effect Bebung, the French 
Balancement, and it was indicated by a 
row of dots under a short slur written 
over the note. It is to the special fond- 
ness which Bach felt for the clavichord 
that we owe, to a great extent, the can- 
tabile style of his music, its many- 
voicedness and its high emotionality. 

The spinet, virginal, and harpsichord 
were quilled instruments, the tone of 
which was produced by snapping the 
strings by means of plectra made of 
quill, or some other flexible substance, 
set in the upper end of a bit of wood 
called the jack, which rested on the far- 
ther end of the key and moved through 
a slot in the sounding-board. When 
the key was pressed down, the jack 
moved upward past the string which 
was caught and twanged by the plec- 
trum. The blow of the clavichord tan- 
gent could be graduated like that of the ' 
pianoforte hammer, but the quills of the 
other instruments always plucked the 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

strings with the same force, so that me- 
chanical devices, such as a swell-box, 
similar in principle to that of the or- 
gan, coupling in octaves, doubling the 
strings, etc., had to be resorted to for 
variety of dynamic effects. The char- 
acter of tone thus produced determined 
the character of the music composed for 
these instruments to a great extent. 
The brevity of the sound made sus- 
tained melodies ineffective, and encour- 
aged the use of a great variety of em- 
bellishments and the spreading out of 
harmonies in the form of arpeggios. 
It is obvious enough that Bach, being 
one of those monumental geniuses that 
cast their prescient vision far into the 
future, refused to be bound by such me- 
chanical limitations. Though he wrote 
Clavier, he thought organ, which was h?s 
true interpretative medium, and so it 
happens that the greatest sonority and 
the broadest style that have been de- 
veloped in the pianoforte do not ex- 
haust the contents of such a composi- 
tion as the " Chromatic Fantasia and 

The earliest music written for these 


Tone of the 
chord and 

"Music of 




How to Listen to Music 

instruments music which does not en- 
ter into this study was but one remove 
from vocal music. It came through 
compositions written for the organ. 
Of Scarlatti's music the pieces most 
familiar are a Capriccio and Pastorale 
which Tausig rewrote for the piano- 
forte. They were called sonatas by 
their composer, but are not sonatas 
in the modern sense. Sonata means 
"sound-piece," and when the term came 
into music it signified only that the 
composition to which it was applied 
was written for instruments instead of 
voices. Scarlatti did a great deal to 
develop the technique of the harpsi- 
chord and the style of composing for it. 
His sonatas consist each of a single 
movement only, but in their structure 
they foreshadow the modern sonata 
form in having two contrasted themes, 
which are presented in a fixed key-rela- 
tionship. They are frequently full of 
grace and animation, but are as purely 
objective, formal, and soulless in their 
content as the other instrumental com- 
positions of the epoch to which they 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

The most significant of the composi- 
tions of this period are the Suites, which 
because they make up so large a per- 
centage of Clavier literature (using the 
term to cover the pianoforte and its pred- 
ecessors), and because they pointed the 
way to the distinguishing form of the 
subsequent period, the sonata, are deserv- 
ing of more extended consideration. The 
suite is a set of pieces in the same key, 
but contrasted in character, based upon 
certain admired dance-forms. Originally 
it was a set of dances and nothing more, 
but in the hands of the composers the 
dances underwent many modifications, 
some of them to the obvious detriment 
of their national or other distinguish- 
ing characteristics. The suite came 
into fashion about the middle of the 
seventeenth century and was also called 
Sonata da Camera and Ballet to in Italy, 
and, later, Partita in France. In its fun- 
damental form it embraced four move- 
ments: I. Allemande. II. Courante. 
III. Sarabande. IV. Gigue. To these 
four were sometimes added other dances 
the Gavotte, Passepied, Branle, Min- 
uet, Bourree, etc. but the rule was that 



The suite. 

Its history 



The bond 
between the 



How to Listen to Music 

they should be introduced between the 
Sarabande and the Gigue. Sometimes 
also the set was introduced by a Prelude 
or an Overture. Identity of key was 
the only external tie between the vari- 
ous members of the suite, but the com- 
posers sought to establish an artistic 
unity by elaborating the sentiments for 
which the dance-forms seemed to offer 
a vehicle, and presenting them in agree- 
able contrast, besides enriching the 
primitive structure with new material. 
The suites of Bach and Handel are the 
high-water mark in this style of com- 
position, but it would be difficult to 
find the original characteristics of the 
dances in their settings. It must suffice 
us briefly to indicate the characteristics 
of the principal forms. 

The Allemande, as its name indicates, 
was a dance of supposedly German 
origin. For that reason the German 
composers, when it came to them from 
France, where the suite had its origin, 
treated it with great partiality. It is 
in moderate tempo, common time, and 
made up of two periods of eight meas- 
ures, both of which are repeated. It 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


begins with an upbeat, and its metre, 
to use the terms of prosody, is iambic. 
The following specimen from Mer- 
senne's " Harmonic Universelle," 1636, 
well displays its characteristics : 


y r i '' ' l f 1 - 4 tt ! i 

> [ r^ * i*.. 1 f i 1 1 * (^ \ \ ?_ -^-.. 1 

i i , f-\ [ i |l I 1 (-41 1 

I ' r r r T i"' Ji:' F ' I 
i r' r r r if L -^r-i*> r r - r>i 

p p_| f 3 r- \r* ' m -, f 3 -g a p .g -g^v-ai 

Robert Burns's familiar iambics, 

" Ye flowery banks o' bonnie Doon, 
How can ye bloom sae fair ? 
How can ye chant, ye little birds, 
And I sae fu' o' care ! " 

might serve to keep the rhythmical 
characteristics of the Allemande in 
mind were it not for the arbitrary 
changes made by the composers already 
hinted at. As it is, we frequently find 
the stately movement of the old dance 

Iambics in 
music and 




How to Listen to Music 

broken up into elaborate, but always 
quietly flowing, ornamentation, as indi- 
cated in the following excerpt from the 
third of Bach's English suites: 


* L * 

J- J 


The Courante, or Corrente (" Teach 
lavoltas high and swift corantos," says 
Shakespeare), is a French dance which 
was extremely popular in the sixteenth, 
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries 
a polite dance, like the minuet. It 
was in triple time, and its movement 
was bright and brisk, a merry energy 
being imparted to the measure by the 
prevailing figure, a dotted quarter-note, 
an eighth, and a quarter in a measure, 
as illustrated in the following excerpt 
also from Mersenne : 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


The suite composers varied the move- 


ment greatly, however, and the Italian 


Corrente consists chiefly of rapid run- 

ning passages. 

The Sarabande was also in triple time, 


but its movement was slow and stately. 


In Spain, whence it was derived, it was 

sung to the accompaniment of casta- 

nets, a fact which in itself suffices to in- 

dicate that it was originally of a lively 

character, and took on its solemnity in 

the hands of the later composers. Han- 

del found the Sarabande a peculiarly 

admirable vehicle for his inspirations, 

and one of the finest examples extant 

figures in the triumphal music of his 

"Almira," composed in 1704: 

7T I ~ r 

by Handel. 

1P'ft-i9- -J&- -*- s~} f ff -3* -(9- -g- -&- &- **- 

- J I J fl J J J J Kn> - 

r ^'- *' J 'r:n 



How to Listen to Music 

J. ! 

* rj ^ H i~^~g~ J ~r^- fl p-^-f =1 
r ^- 

Seven years after the production of 
" Almira," Handel recurred to this 
beautiful instrumental piece, and out of 
it constructed the exquisite lament be- 
ginning " Lascia ch'io pianga " in his 
opera " Rinaldo." 

Great Britain's contribution to the 
Suite was the final Gigue, which is our 
jolly and familiar friend the jig, and 
in all probability is Keltic in origin. It 
is, as everybody knows, a rollicking 
measure in 6-8, 12-8, or 4-4 time, with 
twelve triplet quavers in a measure, 
and needs no description. It remained 
a favorite with composers until far into 
the eighteenth century. Shakespeare 
proclaims its exuberant lustiness when 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


he makes Sir Toby Belch protest that 
had he Sir Andrew's gifts his " very 
walk should be a jig." Of the other 
dances incorporated into the suite, two 
are deserving of special mention be- 
cause of their influence on the music of 
to-day the Minuet, which is the par- 
ent of the symphonic scherzo, and the 
Gavotte, whose fascinating movement is 
frequently heard in latter-day operet- 
tas. The Minuet is a French dance, 
and came from Poitou. Louis XIV. 
danced it to Lully's music for the first 
time at Versailles in 1653, and it soon 
became the most popular of court and 
society dances, holding its own down 
to the beginning of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. It was long called the Queen of 
Dances, and there is no one who has 
grieved to see the departure of gal- 
lantry and grace from our ball-rooms 
but will wish to see Her Gracious Maj- 
esty restored to her throne. The mu- 
sic of the minuet is in 3-4 time, and of 
stately movement. The Gavotte is a 
lively dance-measure in common time, 
beginning, as a rule, on the third beat. 
Its origin has been traced to the moun- 

1 79 







of the 


How to Listen to Music 

tain people of the Dauphine* called 
Gavots whence its name. 

The transferrence of this music to the 
modern pianoforte has effected a vast 
change in the manner of its perform- 
ance. In the period under considera- 
tipn emotionality, which is considered 
the loftiest attribute of pianoforte 
playing to-day, was lacking, except 
in the case of such masters of the 
clavichord as the great Bach and his son, 
Carl Philipp Emanuel, who inherited 
his father's preference for that instru- 
ment over the harpsichord and piano- 
forte. Tastefulness in the giving out 
of the melody, distinctness of enuncia- 
tion, correctness of phrasing, nimble- 
ness and lightness of finger, summed up 
practically all that there was in virtuoso- 
ship. Intellectuality and digital skill 
were the essential factors. Beauty of 
tone through which feeling and tem- 
perament speak now was the product 
of the maker of the instrument, except 
again in the case of the clavichord, in 
which it may have been largely the 
creation of the player. It is, therefore, 
not surprising that the first revolution 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

in technique of which we hear was ac- 
complished by Bach, who, the better to 
bring out the characteristics of his poly- 
phonic style, made use of the thumb, 
till then considered almost a useless 
member of the hand in playing, and 
bent his fingers, so that their move- 
ments might be more unconstrained. 

Of the varieties of touch, which play 
such a role in pianoforte pedagogics 
to-day, nothing was known. Only on 
the clavichord was a blow delivered 
directly against the string, and, as has 
already been said, only on that instru- 
ment was the dynamic shading regu- 
lated by the touch. Practically, the 
same touch was used on the organ and 
the stringed instruments with key-board. 
When we find written praise of the old 
players it always goes to the fluency 
and lightness of their fingering. Han- 
del was greatly esteemed as a harpsi- 
chord player, and seems to have in- 
vented a position of the hand like 
Bach's, or to have copied it from that 
master. Forkel tells us the movement 
of Bach's fingers was so slight as to be 
scarcely noticeable ; the position of his 



Change in 






How to Listen to Music 

hands remained unchanged throughout, 
and the rest of his body motionless. 
Speaking of Handel's harpsichord play- 
ing, Burney says that his fingers 
"seemed to grow to the keys. They 
were so curved and compact when he 
played that no motion, and scarcely the 
fingers themselves, could be discovered." 
Scarlatti's significance lies chiefly in an 
extension of the technique of his time 
so as to give greater individuality to the 
instrument. He indulged freely in brill- 
iant passages and figures which some- 
times call for a crossing of the hands, also 
in leaps of over an octave, repetition 
of a note by different fingers, broken 
chords in contrary motion, and other 
devices which prefigure modern piano- 
forte music. 

That Scarlatti also pointed the way 
to the modern sonata, I have already 
said. The history of the sonata, 
as the term is now understood, ends 
with Beethoven. Many sonatas have 
been written since the last one of that 
great master, but not a word has been 
added to his proclamation. He stands, 
therefore, as a perfect exemplar of the 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

second period in the scheme which we 
have adopted for the study of piano- 
forte music and playing. In a general 
way a sonata may be described as a 
composition of four movements, con- 
trasted in mood, tempo, sentiment, and 
character, but connected by that spirit- 
ual bond of which mention was made in 
our study of the symphony. In short, 
a sonata is a symphony for a solo instru- 

When it came into being it was 
little else than a convenient formula 
for the expression of musical beauty. 
Haydn, who perfected it on its formal 
side, left it that and nothing more. 
Mozart poured the vessel full of beauty, 
but Beethoven breathed the breath of a 
new life into it. An old writer tells us 
of Haydn that he was wont to say that 
the whole art of composing consisted in 
taking up a subject and pursuing it. 
Having invented his theme, he would 
begin by choosing the keys through 
which he wished to make it pass. 

" His exquisite feeling gave him a perfect knowl- 
edge of the greater or less degree of effect which 

i8 3 


The sonata. 





manner of 

How to Listen to Music 

one chord produces in succeeding another, and he 
afterward imagined a little romance which might 
furnish him with sentiments and colors." 

Beethoven began with the sentiment 
and worked from it outwardly, modify- 
ing the form when it became necessary 
to do so, in order to obtain complete 
and perfect utterance. He made spirit 
rise superior to matter. This must be 
borne in mind when comparing the 
technique of the previous period with 
that of which I have made Beethoven 
the representative. In the little that 
we are privileged to read of Mozart's 
style of playing, we see only a reflex of 
the players who went before him, sav- 
ing as it was permeated by the warmth 
which went out from his own genial 
personality. His manipulation of the 
keys had the quietness and smoothness 
that were praised in Bach and Handel. 

" Delicacy and taste," says Kullak, " with his 
lifting of the entire technique to the spiritual aspi- 
ration of the idea, elevate him as a virtuoso to a 
height unanimously conceded by the public, by con- 
noisseurs, and by Artists capable of judging, de- 
menti declared that he had never heard any one 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

play so soulfully and charmfully as Mozart; Dit- 
tersdorf finds art and taste combined in his play- 
ing; Haydn asseverated with tears that Mozart's 
playing he could never forget, for it touched the 
heart. His staccato is said to have possessed a 
peculiarly brilliant charm." 

The period of C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, 
and Mozart is that in which the piano- 
forte gradually replaced its predeces- 
sors, and the first real pianist was Mo- 
zart's contemporary and rival, Muzio 
Clementi. His chief significance lies in 
his influence as a technician, for he 
opened the way to the modern style of 
play with its greater sonority and ca- 
pacity for expression. Under him pas- 
sage playing became an entirely new 
thing; deftness, lightness, and fluency 
were replaced by stupendous virtuoso- 
ship, which rested, nevertheless, on a full 
and solid tone. He is said to have been 
able to trill in octaves with one hand. 
He was necessary for the adequate in- 
terpretation of Beethoven, whose music 
is likehr to be best understood by those 
who know that he, too, was a superb 
pianoforte player, fully up to the re- 
quirements which his last sonatas make 



as a 



Beethoven 's 


How to Listen to Music 

upon technical skill as well as intellect- 
ual and emotional gifts. 

Czerny, who was a pupil of Beethoven, 
has preserved a fuller account of that 
great composer's art as a player than we 
have of any of his predecessors. He de- 
scribes his technique as tremendous, bet- 
ter than that of any virtuoso of his day. 
He was remarkably deft in connecting 
the full chords, in which he delighted, 
without the use of the pedal. His man- 
ner at the instrument was composed and 
quiet. He sat erect, without movement 
of the upper body, and only when his 
deafness compelled him to do so, in 
order to hear his own music, did he con- 
tract a habit of leaning forward. With 
an evident appreciation of the necessi- 
ties of old-time music he had a great 
admiration for clean fingering, especi- 
ally in fugue playing, and he objected to 
the use of Cramer's studies in the in- 
struction of his nephew by Czerny be- 
cause they led to what he called a 
" sticky " style of play, and failed to 
bring out crisp staccatos and a light 
touch. But it was upon expression that 
he insisted most of all when he taught. 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

More than anyone else it was Beet- 
hoven who brought music back to the 
purpose which it had in its first rude 
state, when it sprang unvolitionally 
from the heart and lips of primitive 
man. It became again a vehicle for 
the feelings. As such it was accepted 
by the romantic composers to whom 
he belongs as father, seer, and prophet, 
quite as intimately as he belongs to the 
classicists by reason of his adherence to 
form as an essential in music. To his 
contemporaries he appears as an image- 
breaker, but to the clearer vision of to- 
day he stands an unshakable barrier to 
lawless iconoclasm. Says Sir George 
Grove, quoting Mr. Edward Dannreu- 
ther, in the passages within the inverted 
commas : 

" That he was no wild radical altering for the 
mere pleasure of alteration, or in the mere search 
for originality, is evident from the length of time 
during which he abstained from publishing, or even 
composing works of pretension, and from the like- 
ness which his early works possess to those of his 
predecessors. He began naturally with the forms 
which were in use in his days, and his alteration of 
them grew very gradually with the necessities of 
his expression. The form of the sonata is ' the 


Music and 

a Roman- 






How to Listen to Music 

transparent veil through which Beethoven seems to 
have looked at all music.' And the good points of 
that form he retained to the last the ' triune sym- 
metry of exposition, illustration, and repetition,' 
which that admirable method allowed and enforced 
but he permitted himself a much greater liberty 
than his predecessors had done in the relationship 
of the keys of the different movements, and parts of 
movements, and in the proportion of the clauses 
and sections with which he built them up. In other 
words, he was less bound by the forms and musical 
rules, and more swayed by the thought which he 
had to express, and the directions which that 
thought took in his mind." 

It is scarcely to be wondered at that 
when men like Schumann and Chopin 
felt the full force of the new evangel 
which Beethoven had preached, they 
proceeded to carry the formal side of 
poetic expression, its vehicle, into re- 
gions unthought of before their time. 
The few old forms had now to give way 
to a large variety. In their work they 
proceeded from points that were far 
apart Schumann's was literary, Cho- 
pin's political. In one respect the lists 
of their pieces which appear most fre- 
quently on recital programmes seem to 
hark back to the suites of two centu- 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

ries ago they are sets of short composi- 
tions grouped, either by the composer 
(as is the case with Schumann) or by 
the performer (as is the case with 
Chopin in the hands of Mr. Paderew- 
ski). Such fantastic musical miniatures 
as Schumann's " Carnaval " and " Papil- 
lons" are eminently characteristic of the 
composer's intellectual and emotional 
nature, which in his university days had 
fallen under the spell of literary ro- 

While ostensibly studying jurispru- 
dence at Heidelberg, Schumann de- 
voted seven hours a day to the piano- 
forte and several to Jean Paul. It was 
this writer who moulded not only 
Schumann's literary style in his early 
years, but also gave the bent which his 
creative activity in music took at the 
outset. To say little, but vaguely hint 
at much, was the rule which he adopted ; 
to remain sententious in expression, but 
give the freest and most daring flight 
to his imagination, and spurn the con- 
ventional limitations set by rule and cus- 
tom, his ambition. Such fanciful and 
symbolical titles as " Flower, Fruit, and 






i go 




How to Listen to Music 

Thorn Pieces," "Titan/' etc., which 
Jean Paul adopted for his singular mixt- 
ures of tale, rhapsody, philosophy, and 
satire, were bound to find an imitator 
in so ardent an apostle as young Schu- 
mann, and, therefore, we have such com- 
positions as " Papillons," " Carnaval," 
" Kreisleriana," " Phantasiestucke," and 
the rest. Almost always, it may be 
said, the pieces which make them up 
were composed under the poetical and 
emotional impulses derived from liter- 
ature, then grouped and named. To 
understand their poetic contents this 
must be known. 

Chopin's fancy, on the other hand, 
found stimulation in the charm which, 
for him, lay in the tone of the piano- 
forte itself (to which he added a new 
loveliness by his manner of writing), as 
well as in the rhythms of the popular 
dances of his country. These dances 
he not only beautified as the old suite 
writers beautified their forms, but he 
utilized them as vessels which he filled 
with feeling, not all of which need be 
accepted as healthy, though much of 
it is. As to his titles, " Preludes " is 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


purely an arbitrary designation for 
compositions which are equally indefi- 
nite in form and character; Niecks 
compares them very aptly to a portfolio 
full of drawings " in all stages of ad- 
vancement finished and unfinished, 
complete and incomplete compositions, 
sketches and mere memoranda, all 
mixed indiscriminately together." So, 
too, they appeared to Schumann: 
" They are sketches, commencements of 
studies, or, if you will, ruins, single 
eagle-wings, all strangely mixed to- 
gether." Nevertheless some of them 
are marvellous soul-pictures. 

The " fitudes " are studies intended to 
develop the technique of the pianoforte 
in the line of the composer's discoveries, 
his method of playing extended arpeg- 
gios, contrasted rhythms, progressions 
in thirds and octaves, etc., but still they 
breathe poetry and sometimes passion. 
Nocturne is an arbitrary, but expres- 
sive, title for a short composition of a 
dreamy, contemplative, or even elegiac, 
character. In many of his nocturnes 
Chopin is the adored sentimentalist of 
boarding - school misses. There is 









How to Listen to Music 

poppy in them and seductive poison for 
which Niecks sensibly prescribes Bach 
and Beethoven as antidotes. The term 
ballad has been greatly abused in litera- 
ture, and in music is intrinsically un- 
meaning. Chopin's four Ballades have 
one feature in common they are writ- 
ten in triple time ; and they are among 
his finest inspirations. 

Chopin's dances are conventionalized, 
and do not all speak the idiom of the peo- 
ple who created their forms, but their 
original characteristics ought to be 
known. The Polonaise was the stately 
dance of the Polish nobility, more a 
march or procession than a dance, full 
of gravity and courtliness, with an im- 
posing and majestic rhythm in triple 
time that tends to emphasize the second 
beat of the measure, frequently synco- 
pating it and accentuating the second 
half of the first beat : 

3 JT , 



National color comes out more clearly 
in his Mazurkas. Unlike the Polonaise 
this was the dance of the common peo- 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

pie, and even as conventionalized and 
poetically refined by Chopin there is 
still in the Mazurka some of the rude 
vigor which lies in its propulsive 
rhythm : 



The Krakowiak (French Cracovienne, 
Mr. Paderewski has a fascinating speci- 
men in his " Humoresques de Concert," 
op. 14) is a popular dance indigenous to 
the district of Cracow, whence its name. 
Its rhythmical elements are these : 

and/ J / 

In the music of this period there is 
noticeable a careful attention on the 
part of the composers to the peculiari- 
ties of the pianoforte. No music, save 
perhaps that of Liszt, is so idiomatic. 
Frequently in Beethoven the content 
of the music seems too great for the 
medium of expression ; we feel that the 
thought would have had better expres- 
sion had the master used the orchestra 
instead of the pianoforte. We may 








than idiom. 

How to Listen to Music 

well pause a moment to observe the 
development of the instrument and its 
technique from then till now, but as 
condemnation has already been pro- 
nounced against excessive admiration 
of technique for technique's sake, so now 
I would first utter a warning against 
our appreciation of the newer charm. 
" Idiomatic of the pianoforte " is a good 
enough phrase and a useful, indeed, but 
there is danger that if abused it may 
bring something like discredit to the 
instrument. It would be a pity if music, 
which contains the loftiest attributes of 
artistic beauty, should fail of apprecia- 
tion simply because it had been ob- 
served that the pianoforte is not the 
most convenient, appropriate, or effec- 
tive vehicle for its publication a pity 
for the pianoforte, for therein would 
lie an exemplification of its imperfec- 
tion. So, too, it would be a pity if the 
opinion should gain ground that music 
which had been clearly designed to 
meet the nature of the instrument was 
for that reason good pianoforte music, 
i.e., " idiomatic " music, irrespective of 
its content. 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

In Beethoven's day the pianoforte 
was still a feeble instrument compared 
with the grand of to-day. Its capac- 
ities were but beginning to be ap- 
preciated. Beethoven had to seek and 
invent effects which now are known 
to every amateur. The instrument 
which the English manufacturer Broad- 
wood presented to him in 1817 had a 
compass of six octaves, and was a whole 
octave wider in range than Mozart's 
pianoforte. In 1793 dementi extended 
the key-board to five and a half oc- 
taves ; six and a half octaves were 
reached in 1811, and seven in 1851. 
Since 1851 three notes have been added 
without material improvement to the 
instrument. This extension of compass, 
however, is far from being the most 
important improvement since the clas- 
sic period. The growth in power, so- 
nority, and tonal brilliancy has been 
much more marked, and of it Liszt 
made striking use. 

Very significant, too, in their relation 
to the development of the music, were 
the invention and improvement of the 
pedals. The shifting pedal was invented 



ment of the 






How to Listen to Music 

by a Viennese maker named Stein, who 
first applied it to an instrument which 
he named " Saiten-harmonika." Before 
then soft effects were obtained by inter- 
posing a bit of felt between the hammers 
and the strings, as may still be seen in 
old square pianofortes. The shifting 
pedal, or soft pedal as it is popularly 
called, moves the key-board and action 
so that the hammer strikes only one or 
two of the unison strings, leaving the 
other to vibrate sympathetically. Beet- 
hoven was the first to appreciate the 
possibilities of this effect (see the slow 
movement of his concerto in G major 
and his last sonatas), but after him came 
Schumann and Chopin, and brought 
pedal manipulation to perfection, especi- 
ally that of the damper pedal. This is 
popularly called the loud pedal, and the 
vulgarest use to which it can be put is 
to multiply the volume of tone. It was 
Chopin who showed its capacity for 
sustaining a melody and enriching the 
color effects by releasing the strings 
from the dampers and utilizing the ethe- 
real sounds which rise from the strings 
when they vibrate sympathetically. 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

It is no part of my purpose to indulge 
in criticism of composers, but some- 
thing of the kind is made unavoidable 
by the position assigned to Liszt in our 
pianoforte recitals. He is relied upon 
to provide a scintillant close. The 
pianists, then, even those who are his 
professed admirers, are responsible if 
he is set down in our scheme as the 
exemplar of the technical cult. Tech- 
nique having its unquestioned value, we 
are bound to admire the marvellous 
gifts which enabled Liszt practically to 
sum up all the possibilities of pianoforte 
mechanism in its present stage of con- 
struction, but we need not look with 
unalloyed gratitude upon his influence 
as a composer. There were, I fear, two 
sides to Liszt's artistic character as well 
as his moral. I believe he had in him a 
touch of charlatanism as well as a mag- 
nificent amount of artistic sincerity 
just as he blended a laxity of moral 
ideas with a profound religious mysti- 
cism. It would have been strange in- 
deed, growing up as he did in the 
whited sepulchre of Parisian salon life, 
if he had not accustomed himself to 




A dual 





How to Listen to Music 

sacrifice a little of the soul of art for 
the sake of vainglory, and a little of its 
poetry and feeling to make display of 
those dazzling digital feats which he in- 
vented. But, be it said to his honor, he 
never played mountebank tricks in the 
presence of the masters whom he re- 
vered. It was when he approached the 
music of Beethoven that he sank all 
thought of self and rose to a peerless 
height as an interpreting artist. 

Liszt's place as a composer of original 
music has not yet been determined, but 
as a transcriber of the music of others 
the givers of pianoforte recitals keep 
him always before us. The showy 
Hungarian Rhapsodies with which the 
majority of pianoforte recitals end are, 
however, more than mere transcrip- 
tions. They are constructed out of the 
folk-songs of the Magyars, and in their 
treatment the composer has frequently 
reproduced the characteristic perform- 
ances which they receive at the hands 
of the Gypsies from whom he learned 
them. This fact and the belief to which 
Liszt gave currency in his book "JDes 
Boh6miens et de leur musique en Hon- 

At a Pianoforte Recital 

grie " have given rise to the almost uni- 
versal belief that the Magyar melodies 
are of Gypsy origin. This belief is er- 
roneous. The Gypsies have for centu- 
ries been the musical practitioners of 
Hungary, but they are not the compos- 
ers of the music of the Magyars, though 
they have put a marked impress not 
only on the melodies, but also on popu- 
lar taste. The Hungarian folk-songs 
are a perfect reflex of the national char- 
acter of the Magyars, and some have 
been traced back centuries in their lit- 
erature. Though their most marked 
melodic peculiarity, the frequent use of 
a minor scale containing one or even 
two superfluous seconds, as thus : 

may be said to belong to Oriental mu- 
sic as a whole (and the Magyars are 
Orientals), the songs have a rhythmical 
peculiarity which is a direct product of 
the Magyar language. This peculiarity 
consists of a figure in which the empha- 
sis is shifted from the strong to the 









The Scotch 


How to Listen to Music 

weak part by making the first take only 
a fraction of the time of the second, 

/I- or J- J. | 

In Scottish music this rhythm also 
plays a prominent part, but there it 
falls into the beginning of a measure, 
whereas in Hungarian it forms the mid- 
dle or end. The result is an effect of 
syncopation which is peculiarly force- 
ful. There is an indubitable Oriental 
relic in the profuse embellishments 
which the Gypsies weave around the 
Hungarian melodies when playing 
them ; but the fact that they thrust the 
same embellishments upon Spanish and 
Russian music, in fact upon all the mu- 
sic which they play, indicates plainly 
enough that the impulse to do so is na* 
tive to them, and has nothing tc do with 
the national taste of the coun;ries for 
which they provide music. Liszt's con- 
fessed purpose in writing the Hunga- 
rian Rhapsodies was to create what he 
called " Gypsy epics." He had gath- 
ered a large number of the melodies 
without a definite purpose, and was 

At a Pianoforte Recital 


pondering what to do with them, when 
it occurred to him that 

" These fragmentary, scattered melodies were 
the wandering, floating, nebulous part of a great 
whole, that they fully answered the conditions for 
the production of an harmonious unity which would 
comprehend the very flower of their essential prop- 
erties, their most unique beauties," and " might be 
united in one homogeneous body, a complete work, 
its divisions to be so arranged that each song would 
form at once a whole and a part, which might be 
severed from the rest and be examined and enjoyed 
by and for itself ; but which would, none the less, 
belong to the whole through the close affinity of 


subject matter, the similarity of its inner nature and 
unity in development." * 

The basis of Liszt's Rhapsodies being 
thus distinctively national, he has in a 
manner imitated in their character and 
tempo the dual character of the Hunga- 
rian national dance, the Czardas, which 
consists of two movements, a Lassu, or 
slow movement, followed by a Friss. 
These alternate at the will of the 
dancer, who gives a sign to the band 
when he wishes to change from one to 
the other. 



* Weitzmann, ' Geschichte des Clavierspiels," p. 197. 


of taste. 


At the Opera 

POPULAR taste in respect of the 
opera is curiously unstable. It is 
surprising that the canons of judgment 
touching it have such feeble and fleeting 
authority in view of the popularity of 
the art-form and the despotic hold which 
it has had on fashion for two centuries. 
No form of popular entertainment is 
acclaimed so enthusiastically as a new 
opera by an admired composer ; none 
forgotten so quickly. For the spoken 
drama we go back to Shakespeare in the 
vernacular, and, on occasions, we revive 
the masterpieces of the Attic poets who 
flourished more than two millenniums 
ago ; but for opera we are bounded by 
less than a century, unless occasional 
performances of Gluck's " Orfeo " and 
Mozart's " Figaro," " Don Giovanni/' 

At the Opera 

and " Magic Flute " be counted as sub- 
missions to popular demand, which, un- 
happily, we know they are not. There 
is no one who has attended the opera 
for twenty-five years who might not be- 
wail the loss of operas from the current 
list which appealed to his younger fancy 
as works of real loveliness. In the sea- 
son of 1895-96 the audiences at the Met- 
ropolitan Opera House in New York 
heard twenty-six different operas. The 
oldest were Gluck's " Orfeo " and Beet- 
hoven's " Fidelio," which had a single 
experimental representation each. After 
them in seniority came Donizetti's " Lu- 
cia di Lammermoor," which is sixty-one 
years old, and has overpassed the aver- 
age age of " immortal" operas by from 
ten to twenty years, assuming Dr. Hans- 
lick's calculation to be correct. 

The composers who wrote operas for 
the generation that witnessed Adelina 
Patti's dtbut at the Academy of Music, 
in New York, were Bellini, Donizetti, 
Verdi, and Meyerbeer. Thanks to his 
progressive genius, Verdi is still alive 
on the stage, though nine-tenths of the 
operas which made his fame and fortune 



The age of 

tion of the 



ence on 

An un- 

How to Listen to Music 

have already sunk into oblivion ; Mey- 
erbeer, too, is still a more or less potent 
factor with his " Huguenots,'* which, 
like " Lucia," has endured from ten to 
twenty years longer than the average 
" immortal ; " but the continued exist- 
ence of Bellini and Donizetti seems to 
be as closely bound up with that of two 
or three singers as was Meleager's life 
with the burning billet which his mother 
snatched from the flames. So far as the 
people of London and New York are 
concerned whether or not they shall 
hear Donizetti more, rests with Mes- 
dames Patti and Melba, for Donizetti 
spells " Lucia; " Bellini pleads piteously 
in " Sonnambula," but only Madame 
Nevada will play the mediator between 
him and our stiff-necked generation. 

Opera is a mixed art-form and has 
ever been, and perhaps must ever be, in 
a state of flux, subject to the changes of 
taste in music, the drama, singing, act- 
ing, and even politics and morals ; but 
in one particular the public has shown 
no change for a century and a half, and 
it is not quite clear why this has not 
given greater fixity to popular appre- 

At the Opera 

ciation. The people of to-day are as 
blithely indifferent to the fact that their 
operas are all presented in a foreign 
tongue as they were two centuries ago 
in England. The influence of Wagner 
has done much to stimulate a serious 
attitude toward the lyric drama, but 
this is seldom found outside of the audi- 
ences in attendance on German repre- 
sentations. The devotees of the Latin 
exotic, whether it blend French or Italian 
(or both, as is the rule in New York and 
London) with its melodic perfume, enjoy 
the music and ignore the words with the 
same nonchalance that Addison made 
merry over. Addison proves to have 
been a poor prophet. The great-grand- 
children of his contemporaries are not 
at all curious to know " why their fore- 
fathers used to sit together like an audi- 
ence of foreigners in their own coun- 
try, and to hear whole plays acted be- 
fore them in a tongue which they did 
not understand." What their great- 
grandparents did was also done by their 
grandparents and their parents, and 
may be done by their children, grand- 
children, and great-grandchildren after 



ness of the 




ence to the 


Past and 

How to Listen to Music 

them, unless Englishmen and Americans 
shall take to heart the lessons which 
Wagner essayed to teach his own peo- 
ple. For the present, though we have 
abolished many absurdities which grew 
out of a conception of opera that was 
based upon the simple, sensuous delight 
which singing gave, the charm of music 
is still supreme, and we can sit out an 
opera without giving a thought to the 
words uttered by the singers. The 
popular attitude is fairly represented by 
that of Boileau, when he went to hear 
" Atys " and requested the box-keeper to 
put him in a place where he could hear 
Lully's music, which he loved, but not 
Quinault's words, which he despised. 

It is interesting to note that in this 
respect the condition of affairs in Lon- 
don in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, which seemed so monstrously 
diverting to Addison, was like that in 
Hamburg in the latter part of the seven- 
teenth, and in New York at the end of 
the nineteenth. There were three years 
in London when Italian and English 
were mixed in the operatic representa- 

At the Opera 

" The king or hero of the play generally spoke in 
Italian and his slaves answered him in English ; the 
lover frequently made his court and gained the 
heart of his princess in a language which she did 
not understand." 

At length, says Addison, the audience 
got tired of understanding half the 
opera, " and to ease themselves entirely 
of the fatigue of thinking, so ordered it 
that the whole opera was performed in 
an unknown tongue." 

There is this difference, however, be- 
tween New York and London and Ham- 
burg at the period referred to : while the 
operatic ragout was compounded of Ital- 
ian and English in London, Italian and 
German in Hamburg, the ingredients 
here are Italian, French, and German, 
with no admixture of the vernacular. 
Strictly speaking, our case is more des- 
perate than that of our foreign predeces- 
sors, for the development of the lyric dra- 
ma has lifted its verbal and dramatic ele- 
ments into a position not dreamed of two 
hundred years ago. We might endure 
with equanimity to hear the chorus sing 

" La soupe aux choux sefait dans la mar mite, 
Dans la mar mite on fait la soupe aux choux " 




of texts. 

-Robert k 




How to Listen to Music 

at the beginning of " Robert le Diable," 
as tradition says used to be done in 
Paris, but we surely ought to rise in 
rebellion 'when the chorus of guards 
change their muttered comments on 
Pizarro's furious aria in "Fidelio" from 


Er spricht von Tod und Wunde I " 
" Er spricht vom todten Hunde ! " 

as is a prevalent custom among the ir- 
reverent choristers of Germany. 

Addison confesses that he was often 
afraid when seeing the Italian perform- 
ers " chattering in the vehemence of ac- 
tion," that they were calling the audi- 
ence names and abusing them among 
themselves. I do not know how to 
measure the morals and manners of our 
Italian singers against those of Addi- 
son'? time, but I do know that many of 
ihe things which they say before our 
very faces for their own diversion are 
not complimentary to our intelligence. 
I hope I have a proper respect for Mr. 
Gilbert's "bashful young potato," but 
I do not think it right while we are 
sympathizing with the gentle passion of 

At the Opera 

Siebel to have his representative bring 
an offering of flowers and, looking us 
full in the face, sing : 

" Le patate d'amor, 
O carifior ! " 

It isn't respectful, and it enables the 
cynics of to-day to say, with the poetas- 
ters and fiddlers of Addison's day, that 
nothing is capable of being well set to 
music that is not nonsense. Operatic 
words were once merely stalking-horses 
for tunes, but that day is past. We used 
to smile at Brignoli's "Ah si! ah si! ah 
si!" which did service for any text in 
high passages ; but if a composer should, 
for the accommodation of his music, 
change the wording of the creed into 
" Credo , non credo, non credo in unum 
Deum" as Porpora once did, we should 
all cry out for his excommunication. 

As an art-form the opera has fre- 
quently been criticised as an absurdity, 
and it is doubtless owing to such a con- 
viction that many people are equally in- 
different to the language employed and 
the sentiments embodied in the words. 
Even so serious a writer as George 



1 Faust: 





words un- 

"// Tr ova- 

How to Listen to Music 

Hogarth does not hesitate in his " Me- 
moirs of the Opera" to defend this care- 
less attitude. 

" The words of an air are of small importance to 
the comprehension of the business of the piece," he 
says ; " they merely express a sentiment, a reflection, 
a feeling ; it is quite enough if their general import 
is known, and this may most frequently be gathered 
from the situation, aided by the character and ex- 
pression of the music." 

I, myself, have known an ardent lover 
of music who resolutely refused to 
look into a libretto because, being of a 
lively and imaginative temperament, 
she preferred to construct her own 
plots and put her own words in the 
mouths of the singers. Though a con- 
stant attendant on the opera, she never 
knew what " II Trovatore " was about, 
which, perhaps, is not so surprising 
after all. Doubtless the play which she 
had fashioned in her own mind was 
more comprehensible than Verdi's med- 
ley of burnt children and asthmatic 
dance rhythms. Madame de Stae'l went 
so far as to condemn the German com- 
posers because they " follow too closely 
the sense of the words," whereas the 

At the Opera 

Italians, " who are truly the musicians 
of nature, make the air and the words 
conform to each other only in a general 

Now the present generation has wit- 
nessed a revolution in operatic ideas 
which has lifted the poetical elements 
upon a plane not dreamed of when 
opera was merely a concert in cos- 
tume, and it is no longer tolerable that 
it be set down as an absurdity. On 
the contrary, I believe that, looked 
at in the light thrown upon it by the 
history of the drama and the origin of 
music, the opera is completely justified 
as an art-form, and, in its best estate, is 
an entirely reasonable and highly ef- 
fective entertainment. No mean place, 
surely, should be given in the estima- 
tion of the judicious to an art-form 
which aims in an equal degree to charm 
the senses, stimulate the emotions, and 
persuade the reason. This, the opera, 
or, perhaps I would better say the 
lyric drama, can be made to do as effi- 
ciently as the Greek tragedy did it, so 
far as the differences between the civili- 
zations of ancient Hellas and the nine- 



The opera 
defended as 
an art- 



The classic 

Genesis of 
the Greek 

How to Listen to Music 

teenth century will permit. The Greek 
tragedy was the original opera, a fact 
which literary study would alone have 
made plain even if it were not clearly 
of record that it was an effort to restore 
the ancient plays in their integrity that 
gave rise to the Italian opera three cen- 
turies ago. 

Every school-boy knows now that the 
Hellenic plays were simply the final 
evolution of the dances with which the 
people of Hellas celebrated their re- 
ligious festivals. At the rustic Bac- 
chic feasts of the early Greeks they 
sang hymns in honor of the wine-god, 
and danced on goat- skins filled with 
wine. He who held his footing best on 
the treacherous surface carried home 
the wine as a reward. They contended 
in athletic games and songs for a goat, 
and from this circumstance scholars 
have surmised we have the word trag- 
edy, which means " goat-song." The 
choric songs and dances grew in variety 
and beauty. Finally, somebody (tradi- 
tion preserves the name of Thespis as 
the man) conceived the idea of intro- 
ducing a simple dialogue between the 

At the Opera 

strophes of the choric song. Generally 
this dialogue took the form of a recital 
of some story concerning the god whose 
festival was celebrating. Then when 
the dithyrambic song returned, it would 
either continue the narrative or com- 
ment on its ethical features. 

The merry-makers, or worshippers, as 
one chooses to look upon them, mani- 
fested their enthusiasm by imitating the 
appearance as well as the actions of the 
god and his votaries. They smeared 
themselves with wine-lees, colored their 
bodies black and red, put on masks, 
covered themselves with the skins of 
beasts, enacted the parts of nymphs, 
fauns, and satyrs, those creatures of 
primitive fancy, half men and half goats, 
who were the representatives of natural 
sensuality untrammelled by convention- 

Next, somebody (Archilocus) sought 
to heighten the effect of the story or 
the dialogue by consorting it with in- 
strumental music ; and thus we find the 
germ of what musicians not news- 
paper writers call melodrama, in the 
very early stages of the drama's de- 



and dress. 


21 4 


Factors in 




How to Listen to Music 

velopment. Gradually these simple 
rustic entertainments were taken in 
hand by the poets who drew on the 
legendary stores of the people for sub- 
jects, branching out from the doings of 
gods to the doings of god-like men, the 
popular heroes, and developed out of 
them the masterpieces of dramatic 
poetry which are still studied with 
amazement, admiration, and love. 

The dramatic factors which have been 
mustered in this outline are these : 

1. The choric dance and song with 
a religious purpose. 

2. Recitation and dialogue. 

3. Characterization by means of imi- 
tative gestures pantomime, that is 
and dress. 

4. Instrumental music to accompany 
the song and also the action. 

All these have been retained in the 
modern opera, which may be said 
to differ chiefly from its ancient model 
in the more important and more in- 
dependent part which music plays 
in it. It will appear later in our 
study that the importance and inde- 
pendence achieved by one of the ele- 

At the Opera 

ments consorted in a work by nature 
composite, led the way to a revolution 
having for its object a restoration of 
something like the ancient drama. In 
this ancient drama and its precursor, the 
dithyrambic song and dance, is found 
a union of words and music which 
scientific investigation proves to be not 
only entirely natural but inevitable. 
In a general way most people are in 
the habit of speaking of music as the 
language of the emotions. The ele- 
ments which enter into vocal music (of 
necessity the earliest form of music) 
are unvolitional products which we 
must conceive as co-existent with the 
beginnings of human life. Do they 
then antedate articulate speech ? Did 
man sing before he spoke ? I shall not 
quarrel with anybody who chooses so 
to put it. 

Think a moment about the mechan- 
ism of vocal music. Something occurs 
to stir up your emotional nature a 
great joy, a great sorrow, a great fear; 
instantly, involuntarily, in spite of your 
efforts to prevent it, maybe, muscular 
actions set in which proclaim the emo- 



Words and 









How to Listen to Music 

tion which fills you. The muscles and 
organs of the chest, throat, and mouth 
contract or relax in obedience to the 
emotion. You utter a cry, and accord- 
ing to the state of feeling which you are 
in, that cry has pitch, quality (timbre 
the singing teachers call it), and dy- 
namic intensity. You attempt to speak, 
and no matter what the words you 
utter, the emotional drama playing on 
the stage of your heart is divulged. 

The man of science observes the phe- 
nomenon and formulates its laws, say- 
ing, for instance, as Herbert Spencer 
has said : " All feelings are muscular 
stimuli ;" and, " Variations of voice are 
the physiological results of variations 
of feeling." It was the recognition of 
this extraordinary intimacy between 
the voice and the emotions which 
brought music all the world over into 
the service of religion, and provided 
the phenomenon, which we may still 
observe if we be but minded to do so, 
that mere tones have sometimes the 
sanctity of words, and must as little be 
changed as ancient hymns and prayers. 

The end of the sixteenth century saw 

At the Opera 

a coterie of scholars, art-lovers, and 
amateur musicians in Florence who de- 
sired to re-establish the relationship 
which they knew had once existed be- 
tween music and the drama. The re- 
vival of learning had made the classic 
tragedy dear to their hearts. They 
knew that in the olden time trag- 
edy, of which the words only have 
come down to us, had been musical 
throughout. In their efforts to bring 
about an intimacy between dramatic 
poetry and music they found that noth- 
ing could be done with the polite mu- 
sic of their time. It was the period of 
highest development in ecclesiastical 
music, and the climax of artificiality. 
The professional musicians to whom 
they turned scorned their theories and 
would not help them ; so they fell back 
on their own resources. They cut the 
Gordian knot and invented a new style 
of music, which they fancied was like 
that used by the ancients in their stage- 
plays. They abolished polyphony, or 
contrapuntal music, in everything ex- 
cept their choruses, and created a sort of 
musical declamation, using variations of 

21 7 


of Italian 





The music 
\ oftheFlor- 
! entine re- 


The solo 
style, har- 
mony, and 

How to Listen to Music 

pitch and harmonies built up on a sim- 
ple bass to give emotional life to their 
words. In choosing their tones they 
were guided by observation of the vocal 
inflections produced in speech under 
stress of feeling, showing thus a recog- 
nition of the law which Herbert Spen- 
cer formulated two hundred and fifty 
years later. 

The music which these men pro- 
duced and admired sounds to us mo- 
notonous in the extreme, for what little 
melody there is in it is hi the choruses, 
which they failed to emancipate from 
the ecclesiastical art, and which for that 
reason were as stiff and inelastic as the 
music which in their controversies with 
the musicians they condemned with 
vigor. Yet within their invention there 
lay an entirely new world of music. 
Out of it came the solo style, a song 
with instrumental accompaniment of a 
kind unknown to the church composers. 
Out of it, too, came harmony as an in- 
dependent factor in music instead of 
an accident of the simultaneous flow of I 
melodies ; and out of it came declama- 
tion, which drew its life from the text. 

At the Opera 

The recitatives which they wrote had 
the fluency of spoken words and were 
not retarded by melodic forms. The 
new style did not accomplish what its 
creators hoped for, but it gave birth to 
Italian opera and emancipated music in 
a large measure from the formalism that 
dominated it so long as it belonged 
exclusively to the composers for the 

Detailed study of the progress of 
opera from the first efforts of the Floren- 
tines to Wagner's dramas would carry 
us too far afield to serve the purposes of 
this book. My aim is to fix the attitude 
proper, or at least useful, to the opera 
audience of to-day. The excursion into 
history which I have made has but the 
purpose to give the art-form a reputable 
standing in court, and to explain the 
motives which prompted the revolution 
accomplished by Wagner. As to the 
elements which compose an opera, only 
those need particular attention which 
are illustrated in the current repertory. 
Unlike the opera audiences of two 
centuries ago, we are not required to 
distinguish carefully between the vari- 



Fluent rec- 

sors of \ 



Old oper- 
atic dis- 




How to Listen to Music 

ous styles of opera in order to under- 
stand why the composer adopted a par- 
ticular manner and certain fixed forms 
in each. The old distinctions between 
Opera seria, Opera buffa, and Opera semi- 
seria perplex us no more. Only because 
of the perversion of the time-honored 
Italian epithet buffa by the French mon- 
grel Ope'ra bouffe is it necessary to ex- 
plain that the classic Opera buffa was a 
polite comedy, whose musical integu- 
ment did not of necessity differ from 
that of Opera seria except in this that 
the dialogue was carried on in " dry " 
recitative (recitativo secco, or parlante] in 
the former, and a more measured decla- 
mation with orchestral accompaniment 
(recitativo stromentatd) in the latter. So 
far as subject-matter was concerned the 
classic distinction between tragedy and 
comedy served. The dry recitative was 
supported by chords played by a double- 
bass and harpsichord or pianoforte. In 
London, at a later period, for reasons of 
doubtful validity, these chords came to 
be played on a double-bass and violon- 
cello, as we occasionally hear them to- 

At the Opera 


Shakespeare has taught us to accept 


an infusion of the comic element in 


plays of a serious cast, but Shake- 

speare was an innovator, a Romanticist, 

and, measured by old standards, his 

dramas are irregular. The Italians, 

who followed classic models, for a rea- 

son amply explained by the genesis of 

the art-form, rigorously excluded com- 

edy from serious operas, except as in- 

termezzi, until they hit upon a third 

classification, which they called Opera 

Opera sem- 

semiseria, in which a serious subject 

iseria. ' 

was enlivened with comic episodes. 

Our dramatic tastes being grounded 

in Shakespeare, we should be inclined 

to put down " Don Giovanni " as a 

" Don Gio- 

musical tragedy ; or, haunted by the 


Italian terminology, as Opera semiseria ; 

but Mozart calls it Opera buffa, more in 

deference to the librettist's work, I 

fancy, than his own, for, as I have 

suggested elsewhere,* the musician's 

* " But no real student can have studied the score deep- 

ly, or listened discriminatingly to a good performance, 

without discovering that there is a tremendous chasm be- 

tween the conventional aims of the Italian poet in the 

book of the opera and the work which emerged from the 



An Operc 

How to Listen to Music 

imagination in the fire of composition 
went far beyond the conventional fancy 
of the librettist in the finale of that most 
wonderful work. 

It is well to remember that " Don 
Giovanni " is an Opera buffa when 
watching the buffooneries of Leporello, 

composer's profound imagination. Da Ponte contem- 
plated a drammagiocoso ; Mozart humored him until his 
imagination came within the shadow cast before by the 
catastrophe, and then he transformed the poet's comedy 
into a tragedy of crushing power. The climax of Da 
Ponte's ideal is reached in a picture of the dissolute 
Don wrestling in idle desperation with a host of spec- 
tacular devils, and finally disappearing through a trap, 
while fire bursts out on all sides, the thunders roll, and 
Leporello gazes on the scene, crouched in a comic atti- 
tude of terror, under the table. Such a picture satisfied 
the tastes of the public of his time, and that public 
found nothing incongruous in a return to the scene im- 
mediately afterward of all the characters save the repro- 
bate, who had gone to his reward, to hear a description 
of the catastrophe from the buffoon under the table, and 
platitudinously to moralize that the perfidious wretch, 
having been stored away safely in the realm of Pluto 
and Proserpine, nothing remained for them to do ex- 
cept to raise their voices in the words of the " old 


41 Questo I ilfin di chi fa mal : 
E deiperfidi la morte 
Alia vita i sempre ugual" 

"New York Musical Season, 1889-90." 

At the Opera 

for that alone justifies them. The 
French have Grand Optra, in which 
everything is sung to orchestra accom- 
paniment, there being neither spoken 
dialogue nor dry recitative, and Optra 
comique, in which the dialogue is spoken. 
The latter corresponds with the honor- 
able German term Singspiel, and one will 
not go far astray if he associate both 
terms with the English operas of Wal- 
lace and Balfe, save that the French and 
Germans have generally been more deft 
in bridging over the chasm between 
speech and song than their British 
rivals. Optra comique has another char- 
acteristic, its denouement must be happy. 
Formerly the Theatre national de V Optra- 
Comique in Paris was devoted exclu- 
sively to Optra comique as thus defined 
(it has since abolished the distinction 
and Grand Optra may be heard there 
now), and, therefore, when Ambroise 
Thomas brought forward his " Mig- 
non," Goethe's story was found to be 
changed so that Mignon recovered and 
was married to Wilhelm Meister at the 
end. The Germans are seldom pleased 
with the transformations which their 









opera and 

How to Listen to Music 

literary masterpieces are forced to un- 
dergo at the hands of French librettists. 
They still refuse to call Gounod's 
" Faust " by that name ; if you wish to 
hear it in Germany you must go to the 
theatre when " Margarethe " is per- 
formed. Naturally they fell indig- 
nantly afoul of " Mignon," and to pla- 
cate them we have a second finale, a 
denouement allemand, provided by the 
authors, in which Mignon dies as she 

Of course the Grosse Oper of the 
Germans is the French Grand Optra 
and the English grand opera but all 
the English terms are ambiguous, and 
everything that is done in Covent Gar- 
den in London or the Metropolitan 
Opera House in New York is set down 
as "grand opera," just as the vilest imi- 
tations of the French vaudevilles or Eng- 
lish farces with music are called " comic 
operas." In its best estate, say in the 
delightful works of Gilbert and Sullivan, 
what is designated as comic opera ought 
to be called operetta, which is a piece 
in which the forms of grand opera are 
imitated, or travestied, the dialogue is 

At the Opera 

spoken, and the purpose of the play is to 
satirize a popular folly. Only in method, 
agencies, and scope does such an oper- 
etta (the examples of Gilbert and Sulli- 
van are in mind) differ from comedy in 
its best conception, as a dramatic com- 
position which aims to " chastise manners 
with a smile " (" Ridendo castigat mores"). 
Its present degeneracy, as illustrated in 
the Optra bouffe of the French and the 
concoctions of the would-be imitators 
of Gilbert and Sullivan, exemplifies lit- 
tle else than a pursuit far into the depths 
of the method suggested by a friend to 
one of Lully's imitators who had ex- 
pressed a fear that a ballet written, but 
not yet performed, would fail. "You 
must lengthen the dances and shorten 
the ladies' skirts," he said. The Ger- 
mans make another distinction based 
on the subject chosen for the story. 
Spohr's " Jessonda," Weber's " Frei- 
schiitz," " Oberon," and " Euryanthe," 
Marschner's " Vampyr," " Templer und 
Jiidin," and " Hans Heiling " are " Ro- 
mantic" operas. The significance of 
this classification in operatic literature 
may be learned from an effort which I 








opera and 

How to Listen to Music 

have made in another chapter to dis- 
cuss the terms Classic and Romantic as 
applied to music. Briefly stated, the 
operas mentioned are put in a class by 
themselves (and their imitations with 
them) because their plots were drawn 
from the romantic legends of the Middle 
Ages, in which the institutions of chiv- 
alry, fairy lore, and supernaturalism 
play a large part. 

These distinctions we meet in reading 
about music. As I have intimated, we do 
not concern ourselves much with them 
now. In New York and London the 
people speak of Italian, English, and 
German opera, referring generally to 
the language employed in the perform- 
ance. But there is also in the use of 
the terms an underlying recognition of 
differences in ideals of performance. As 
all operas sung in the regular seasons at 
Covent Garden and the Metropolitan 
Opera House are popularly spoken of as 
Italian operas, so German opera popu- 
larly means Wagner's lyric dramas, in 
the first instance, and a style of perform- 
ance which grew out of Wagner's in- 
fluence in the second. As compared 

At the Opera 

with Italian opera, in which the princi- 
pal singers are all and the ensemble noth- 
ing, it means, mayhap, inferior vocalists 
but better actors in the principal parts, 
a superior orchestra and chorus, and a 
more conscientious effort on the part 
of conductor, stage manager, and ar- 
tists, from first to last, to lift the gen- 
eral effect above the conventional level 
which has prevailed for centuries in the 
Italian opera houses. 

In terminology, as well as in artistic 
aim, Wagner's lyric dramas round out a 
cycle that began with the works of the 
Florentine reformers of the sixteenth 
century. Wagner called his later operas 
Musikdramen, wherefore he was sound- 
ly abused and ridiculed by his critics. 
When the Italian opera first appeared 
it was called Dramma per musica, or 
Melodramma, or Tragedia per musica, all 
of which terms stand in Italian for the 
conception that Musikdrama stands for 
in German. The new thing had been 
in existence for half a century, and was 
already on the road to the degraded 
level on which we shall find it when we 
come to the subject of operatic singing, 



Wagner's , 
"Musik- \ 
drama. " 



Italian ter- 


How to Listen to Music 

before it came to be called Opera in 
musica, of which " opera " is an abbrevi- 
ation. Now it is to be observed that 
the composers of all countries, having 
been taught to believe that the dra- 
matic contents of an opera have some 
significance, are abandoning the vague 
term " opera " and following Wagner in 
his adoption of the principles underly- 
ing the original terminology. Verdi 
called his " Aida " an Opera in quattro 
atti, but his " Otello " he designated 
a lyric drama (Dramma lirico), his 
" Falstaff " a lyric comedy (Commedia 
lirica), and his example is followed 
by the younger Italian composers, 
such as Mascagni, Leoncavallo, and 

In the majority of the operas of the 
current list the vocal element illustrates 
an amalgamation of the archaic recita- 
tive and aria. The dry form of rec- 
itative is met with now only in a few 
of the operas which date back to the 
last century or the early years of the 
present. " Le Nozze di Figaro," " Don 
Giovanni," and " II Barbiere di Siviglia" 
are the most familiar works in which it 

At the Opera 

is employed, and in the second of these 
it is used only by the bearers of the 
comedy element. The dissolute Don 
chatters glibly in it with Zerlina, but 
when Donna Anna and Don Ottavio 
converse, it is in the recitative stromen- 

In both forms recitative is the vehicle 
for promoting the action of the play, 
preparing its incidents, and paving the 
way for the situations and emotional 
states which are exploited, promul- 
gated, and dwelt upon in the set music 
pieces. Its purpose is to maintain the 
play in an artificial atmosphere, so that 
the transition from dialogue to song 
may not be so abrupt as to disturb the 
mood of the listener. Of all the factors 
in an opera, the dry recitative is the 
most monotonous. It is not music, but 
speech about to break into music. Un- 
less one is familiar with Italian and 
desirous of following the conversation, 
which we have been often told is not 
necessary to the enjoyment of an opera, 
its everlasting use of stereotyped falls 
and intervallic turns, coupled with the 
strumming of arpeggioed cadences on 



The object 
of recita- 



of the 

What it 
can do. 

How to Listen to Music 

the pianoforte (or worse, double-bass 
and violoncello), makes it insufferably 
wearisome to the listener. Its expres- 
sion is fleeting only for the moment. 
It lacks the sustained tones and struct- 
ural symmetry essential to melody, and 
therefore it cannot sustain a mood. It 
makes efficient use of only one of the 
fundamental factors of vocal music 
variety of pitch and that in a rudi- 
mentary way. It is specifically a prod- 
uct of the Italian language, and best 
adapted to comedy in that language. 
Spoken with the vivacity native to it 
in the drama, dry recitative is an im- 
possibility in English. It is only in the 
more measured and sober gait proper to 
oratorio that we can listen to it in the 
vernacular without thought of incon- 
gruity. Yet it may be made most ad- 
mirably to preserve the characteristics 
of conversation, and even illustrate 
Spencer's theory of the origin of music. 
Witness the following brief example 
from " Don Giovanni," in which the vi- 
vacity of the master is admirably con- 
trasted with the lumpishness of his ser- 

At the Opera 

Sempre totto voce, 



e-po-rel - lo, o - ve seif Son qui per 
Le po - rel - lo, where are you ? I'm here and 

D. G. 


:p p- 


di* - gra - zi - a! e vo - if Son-qui. Chi I 

more' s the pit-y! and you, Sir? Here too. Who's 




nor - 




o, a 

ec - 





been killed, 


or the 






?nan - da da bes tia ? 
ques - tion, you boo - byl 

il vec - chio. Bra - vo ! 
the old one. Bra - vo! 

Of course it is left to the intelligence 
and taste of the singers to bring out the 
effects in a recitative, but in this speci- 
men it ought to be noted how slug- 
gishly the disgruntled Leporello replies 
to the brisk question of Don Giovanni, 
how correct is the rhetorical pause 
in " you, or the old one ? " and the 
greater sobriety which comes over the 
manner of the Don as he thinks of the 
murder just committed, and replies, 
"the old one." 

I am strongly inclined to the belief 



An exam- 
ple from 

Its charac- 



of some sort 

The speak- 
ing voice 
in opera. 

How to Listen to Music 

that in one form or the other, preferably 
the accompanied, recitative is a neces- 
sary integer in the operatic sum. That 
it is possible to accustom one's self to 
the change alternately from speech to 
song we know from the experiences 
made with German, French, and Eng- 
lish operas, but these were not true 
lyric dramas, but dramas with inci- 
dental music. To be a real lyric drama 
an opera ought to be musical through- 
out, the voice being maintained from 
beginning to end on an exalted plane. 
The tendency to drop into the speaking 
voice for the sake of dramatic effect 
shown by some tragic singers does not 
seem to me commendable. Wagner 
relates with enthusiasm how Madame 
Schroeder-Devrient in " Fidelio " was 
wont to give supreme emphasis to the 
phrase immediately preceding the 
trumpet signal in the dungeon scene 
("Another step, and you are dead!") 
by speaking the last word " with an 
awful accent of despair." He then 
comments : 

" The indescribable effect of this manifested itself 
to all like an agonizing plunge from one sphere into 

At the Opera 

another, and its sublimity consisted in this, that 
with lightning quickness a glimpse was given to us 
of the nature of both spheres, of which one was the 
ideal, the other the real." 

I have heard a similar effect produced 
by Herr Niemann and Madame Leh- 
mann, but could not convince myself 
that it was not an extremely venture- 
some experiment. Madame Schroeder- 
Devrient saw the beginning of the 
modern methods of dramatic expres- 
sion, and it is easy to believe that a 
sudden change like that so well de- 
fined by Wagner, made with her sweep- 
ing voice and accompanied by her 
plastic and powerful acting, was really 
thrilling; but, I fancy, nevertheless, 
that only Beethoven and the intensity of 
feeling which pervades the scene saved 
the audience from a disturbing sense of 
the incongruity of the performance. 

The development which has taken 
place in the recitative has not only as- 
sisted in elevating opera to the dignity 
of a lyric drama by saving us from al- 
ternate contemplation of the two spheres 
of ideality and reality, but has also 
made the factor itself an eloquent vehi- 

2 33 







The dia- 
logue of the 

An ex- 
ample from 

How to Listen to Music 

cle of dramatic expression. Save that 
it had to forego the help of the instru- 
ments beyond a mere harmonic sup- 
port, the stilo rappresentativo, or musica 
parlante, as the Florentines called their 
musical dialogue, approached the sus- 
tained recitative which we hear in the 
oratorio and grand opera more closely 
than it did the recitativo secco. Ever 
and anon, already in the earliest works 
(the " Eurydice " of Rinuccini as com- 
posed by both Peri and Caccini) there 
are passages which sound like rudimen- 
tary melodies, but are charged with 
vital dramatic expression. Note the 
following phrase from Orpheus' s mono- 
logue on being left in the infernal re- 
gions by Venus, from Peri's opera, per- 
formed A.D. 1600, in honor of the 
marriage of Maria de' Medici to Henry 
IV. of France : 

voi, deh per pie - to, del mio mar -ti re 

Che nel mi - se-ro cor di - mo - rae - ter - no, 

La - cri - ma - te al mio pian-to om bre d'in-fer - not 

At the Opera 

Out of this style there grew within a 
decade something very near the arioso, 
and for all the purposes of our argu- 
ment we may accept the melodic de- 
vices by which Wagner carries on the 
dialogue of his operas as an uncircum- 
scribed arioso superimposed upon a 
foundation of orchestral harmony ; for 
example, Lokengrirfs address to the 
swan, Elsas account of her dream. The 
greater melodiousness of the recitative 
stromentato, and the aid of the orchestra 
when it began to assert itself as a factor 
of independent value, soon enabled this 
form of musical conversation to become 
a reflector of the changing moods and 
passions of the play, and thus the value 
of the aria, whether considered as a 
solo, or in its composite form as duet, 
trio, quartet, or ensemble, was lessened. 
The growth of the accompanied recita- 
tive naturally brought with it emanci- 
pation from the tyranny of the classical 
aria. Wagner's reform had nothing to 
do with that emancipation, which had 
been accomplished before him, but 
went, as we shall see presently, to a 
liberation of the composers from all 

2 35 


ment of the 

The aria 


How to Listen to Music 


the formal dams which had clogged 


the united flow of action and music. 

We should, however, even while admir- 

ing the achievements of modern com- 

posers in blending these elements (and 

I know of no more striking illustration 

than the scene of the fat knight's dis- 

comfiture in Ford's house in Verdi's 

" Falstaff ") bear in mind that while we 

may dream, of perfect union between 

words and music, it is not always possi- 

Music and 

ble that action and music shall go hand 


in hand. Let me repeat what once I 

wrote in a review of Cornelius's opera, 

" Der Barbier von Bagdad : " * 

" After all, of the constituents of an opera, action, 

at least that form of it usually called incident, is 

most easily spared. Progress in feeling, develop- 

ment of the emotional element, is indeed essential 


to variety of musical utterance, but nevertheless all 

great operas have demonstrated that music is more 

potent and eloquent when proclaiming an emo- 

tional state than while seeking to depict progress 

toward such a state. Even in the dramas of Wag- 

ner the culminating musical moments are pre- 

dominantly lyrical, as witness the love -duet in 

'[Tristan/ the close of ' Das Rheingold,' Steg- 

* " Review of the New York Musical Season, 1889- 

9>" P- 75- 

At the Opera 

mund's song, the love-duet, and Wotan's farewell 
in ' Die Walkiire,' the forest scene and final duet 
in ' Siegfried,' and the death of Siegfried in 
' Die Gotterdammerung.' It is in the nature of 
music that this should be so. For the drama 
which plays on the stage of the heart, music is a 
more truthful language than speech ; but it can 
stimulate movement and prepare the mind for an 
incident better than it can accompany movement 
and incident. Yet music that has a high degree of 
emotional expressiveness, by diverting attention 
from externals to the play of passion within the 
breasts of the persons can sometimes make us for- 
get the paucity of incident in a play. ' Tristan 
und Isolde ' is a case in point. Practically, its out- 
ward action is summed up in each of its three acts 
by the same words : Preparation for a meeting of 
the ill-starred lovers; the meeting. What is out- 
side of this is mere detail; yet the effect of the 
tragedy upon a listener is that of a play surcharged 
with pregnant occurrence. It is the subtle al- 
chemy of music that transmutes the psychological 
action of the tragedy into dramatic incident." 

For those who hold such a view with 
me it will be impossible to condemn 
pieces of set forms in the lyric drama. 
Wagner still represents his art -work 
alone, but in the influence which he 
exerted upon contemporaneous com- 
posers in Italy and France, as well as 



How music 
can replace 

Set forms 
not to be 

2 3 8 



His or- 

How to Listen to Music 

Germany, he is quite as significant 
a figure as he is as the creator of the 
Musikdrama. The operas which are most 
popular in our Italian and French reper- 
tories are those which benefited by the 
liberation from formalism and the ex- 
altation of the dramatic idea which he 
preached and exemplified such works 
as Gounod's " Faust," Verdi's " Aida " 
and " Otello," and Bizet's " Carmen." 
With that emancipation there came, as 
was inevitable, new conceptions of the 
province of dramatic singing as well as 
new convictions touching the mission 
of the orchestra. The instruments in 
Wagner's latter-day works are quite 
as much as the singing actors the ex- 
positors of the dramatic idea, and in 
the works of the other men whom I 
have mentioned they speak a language 
which a century ago was known 
only to the orchestras of Gluck and 
Mozart with their comparatively lim- 
ited, yet eloquent, vocabulary. Coupled 
with praise for the wonderful art of 
Mesdames Patti and Melba (and I am 
glad to have lived in their generation, 
though they do not represent my ideal 

At the Opera 

in dramatic singing), we are accustomed 
to hear lamentations over the decay of 
singing. I have intoned such jeremiads 
myself, and I do not believe that music 
is suffering from a greater want to-day 
than that of a more thorough train- 
ing for singers. I marvel when I read 
that Senesino sang cadences of fifty 
seconds* duration ; that Ferri with a 
single breath could trill upon each note 
of two octaves, ascending and descend- 
ing, and that La Bastardella's art was 
equal to a perfect performance (perfect 
in the conception of her day) of a flour- 
ish like this : 




La Bastar- 




How to Listen to Music 


of the op era 
a century 
and a half 

I marvel, I say, at the skill, the gifts, 
and the training which could accom- 
plish such feats, but I would not have 
them back again if they were to be em- 
ployed in the old service. When Sene- 
sino, Farinelli, Sassarelli, Ferri, and their 
tribe dominated the stage, it strutted 
with sexless Agamemnons and Caesars. 
Telemachus, Darius, Nero, Cato, Alex- 
ander, Scipio, and Hannibal ran around 
on the boards as languishing lovers, 
clad in humiliating disguises, singing 
woful arias to their mistress's eye- 
brows arias full of trills and scales and 
florid ornaments, but void of feeling as 
a problem in Euclid. Thanks very 
largely to German influences, the opera 

At the Opera 

is returning to its original purposes. 
Music is again become a means of dra- 
matic expression, and the singers who 
appeal to us most powerfully are those 
who are best able to make song subserve 
that purpose, and who to that end give 
to dramatic truthfulness, to effective 
elocution, and to action the attention 
which mere voice and beautiful utter- 
ance received in the period which is 
called the Golden Age of singing, but 
which was the Leaden Age of the lyric 

For seventy years the people of New 
York, scarcely less favored than those 
of London, have heard nearly all the 
great singers of Europe. Let me talk 
about some of them, for I am trying to 
establish some ground on which my 
readers may stand when they try to 
form an estimate of the singing which 
they are privileged to hear in the opera 
houses of to-day. Madame Malibran 
was a member of the first Italian com- 
pany that ever sang here.' Madame 
Cinti-Damoreau came in 1844, Bosio in 
1849, Jenny Lind in 1850, Sontag in 
1853, Grisi in 1854, La Grange in 1855, 



Music and 



heard in 
New York. 

2 4 2 



How to Listen to Music 

Frezzolini in 1857, Piccolomini in 1858, 
Nilsson in 1870, Lucca in 1872, Titiens in 
1876, Gerster in 1878, and Sembrich in 
1883. I omit the singers of the German 
opera as belonging to a different cate- 
gory. Adelina Patti was always with 
us until she made her European debut 
in 1 86 1, and remained abroad twenty 
years. Of the men who were the ar- 
tistic associates of these prime donne, 
mention may be made of Mario, Bene- 
detti, Corsi, Salvi, Ronconi, Formes, 
Brignoli, Amadeo, Coletti, and Cam- 
panini, none of whom, excepting Mario, 
was of first-class importance compared 
with the women singers. 

Nearly all of these singers, even those 
still living and remembered by the 
younger generation of to-day, exploited 
their gifts in the operas of Rossini, Bel- 
lini, Donizetti, the early Verdi, and Mey- 
erbeer. Grisi was acclaimed a great 
dramatic singer, and it is told of her 
that once in " Norma " she frightened 
the tenor who sang the part of Pollio by 
the fury of her acting. But measured 
by the standards of to-day, say that set 
by Calve's Carmen, it must have been a 

At the Opera 

simple age that could be impressed by CHAP. 
the tragic power of anyone acting the 
part of Bellini's Druidical priestess. 
The surmise is strengthened by the cir- 
cumstance that Madame Grisi created 
a sensation in " II Trovatore " by show- 
ing signs of agitation in the tower scene, 
walking about the stage during Man- 
ricos " Ah ! che la morte ognora" as if she 
would fain discover the part of the castle 
where her lover was imprisoned. The 
chief charm of Jenny Lind in the mem- Jenny 
ory of the older generation is the pa- 
thos with which she sang simple songs. 
Mendelssohn esteemed her greatly as a 
woman and artist, but he is quoted as 
once remarking to Chorley : " I cannot 
think why she always prefers to be in 
a bad theatre." Moscheles, recording 
his impressions of her in Meyerbeer's 
" Camp of Silesia " (now " L'Etoile du 
Nord"), reached the climax of his praise 
in the words : " Her song with the two 
concertante flutes is perhaps the most 
incredible feat in the way of bravura 
singing that can possibly be heard." 
She was credited, too, with fine powers 
as an actress; and that she possessed 






How to Listen to Music 

them can easily be believed, for few of 
the singers whom I have mentioned had 
so early and intimate an association with 
the theatre as she. Her repugnance to 
it in later life she attributed to a preju- 
dice inherited from her mother. A vastly 
different heritage is disclosed by Ma- 
dame Lehmann's devotion to the drama, 
a devotion almost akin to religion. I have 
known her to go into the scene-room 
of the Metropolitan Opera House in 
New York and search for mimic stumps 
and rocks with which to fit out a scene 
in " Siegfried," in which she was not 
even to appear. That, like her super- 
human work at rehearsals, was " for the 
good of the cause," as she expressed it. 
Most amiable are the memories that 
cluster around the name of Sontag, 
whose career came to a grievous close 
by her sudden death in Mexico in 1854. 
She was a German, and the early part 
of her artistic life was influenced by 
German ideals, but it is said that only 
in the music of Mozart and Weber, 
which aroused in her strong national 
emotion, did she sing dramatically. 
For the rest she used her light voice, 

At the Opera 

which had an extraordinary range, brill- 
iancy, and flexibility, very much as 
Patti and Melba use their voices to-day 
in mere unfeeling vocal display. 

" She had an extensive soprano voice," says Ho- 
garth ; " not remarkable for power, but clear, brill- 
iant, and singularly flexible ; a quality which seems 
to have led her (unlike most German singers in 
general) to cultivate the most florid style, and even 
to follow the bad example set by Catalani, of seek- 
ing to convert her voice into an instrument, and to 
astonish the public by executing the violin variations 
on Rode's air and other things of that stamp." 

Madame La Grange had a voice of 
wide compass, which enabled her to sing 
contralto roles as well as soprano, but I 
have never heard her dramatic powers 
praised. As for Piccolomini, read of 
her where you will, you shall find that 
she was " charming." She was lovely 
to look upon, and her acting in soubrette 
parts was fascinating. Until Melba 
came Patti was for thirty years peer- 
less as a mere vocalist. She belongs, 
as did Piccolomini and Sontag, to the 
comic genre; so did Sembrich and 
Gerster, the latter of whom never knew 
it. I well remember how indignant she 



La Grange. 






Lucca and 


How to Listen to Music 

became on one occasion, in her first 
American season, at a criticism which 
I wrote of her Amina in " La Sonnam- 
bula," a performance which remains 
among- my loveliest and most fragrant 
recollections. I had made use of Cata- 
lani's remark concerning Sontag : " Son 
genre est petit, mats elle est unique dans 
son genre" and applied it to her style. 
She almost flew into a passion. " Mon 
genre est grand!" said she, over and 
over again, while Dr. Gardini, her hus- 
band, tried to pacify her. " Come to 
see my Marguerite next season." Now, 
Gounod's Marguerite does not quite be- 
long to the heroic rdles, though we can 
all remember how Lucca thrilled us by 
her intensity of action as well as of 
song, and how Madame Nilsson sent 
the blood out of our cheeks, though she 
did stride through the opera like a com- 
bination of the grande dame and Ary 
Scheffer's spirituelle pictures ; but such 
as it is, Madame Gerster achieved a 
success of interest only, and that be- 
cause of her strivings for originality. 
Sembrich and Gerster, when they were 
first heard in New York, had as much 

At the Opera 

execution as Melba or Nilsson ; but 
their voices had less emotional power 
than that of the latter, and less beauty 
than that of the former beauty of the 
kind that might be called classic, since 
it is in no way dependent on feeling. 

Patti, Lucca, Nilsson, and Gerster 
sang in the operas in which Melba and 
Eames sing to-day, and though the 
standard of judgment has been changed 
in the last twenty -five years by the 
growth of German ideals, I can find no 
growth of potency in the performances 
of the representative women of Italian 
and French opera, except in the case of 
Madame Calv6. For the development 
of dramatic ideals we must look to the 
singers of German affiliations or ante- 
cedents, Mesdames Materna, Lehmann, 
Sucher, and Nordica. As for the men 
of yesterday and to-day, no lover, I am 
sure, of the real lyric drama would 
give the declamatory warmth and 
gracefulness of pose and action which 
mark the performances of M. Jean de 
Reszke for a hundred of the high notes 
of Mario (for one of which, we are told, 
he was wont to reserve his powers 

2 47 


Melba and 



Jean de 



Reszke and 

Wagner s 

How to Listen to Music 

all evening), were they never so lovely. 
Neither does the fine, resonant, equable 
voice of Edouard de Reszke or the 
finished style of Planon leave us with 
curious longings touching the voices 
and manners of Lablache and Formes. 
Other times, other manners, in music 
as in everything else. The great sing- 
ers of to-day are those who appeal to 
the taste of to-day f and that taste differs, 
as the clothes which we wear differ, 
from the style in vogue in the days of 
our ancestors. 

A great deal of confusion has crept 
into the public mind concerning Wag- 
ner and his works by the failure to 
differentiate between his earlier and 
later creations. No injustice is done 
the composer by looking upon his 
" Flying Dutchman," " Tannhauser," 
and " Lohengrin " as operas. We find 
the dramatic element lifted into noble 
prominence in " Tannhauser," and ad- 
mirable freedom in the handling of the 
musical factors in " Lohengrin," but 
they .must, nevertheless, be listened to 
as one would listen to the operas of 
Weber, Marschner, or Meyerbeer. 

At the Opera 

They are, in fact, much nearer to the 
conventional operatic type than to the 
works which came after them, and were 
called Musikdramen. " Music drama " 
is an awkward phrase, and I have taken 
the liberty of substituting " lyric drama " 
for it, and as such I shall designate 
" Tristan und Isolde," " Die Meister- 
singer," " Der Ring des Nibelungen," 
and " Parsifal." In these works Wagner 
exemplified his reformatory ideas and 
accomplished a regeneration of the 
lyric drama, as we found it embodied 
in principle in the Greek tragedy and 
the Dramma per musica of the Floren- 
tine scholars. Wagner's starting-point 
is, that in the opera music had usurped 
a place which did not belong to it.* It 
was designed to be a means and had 
become an end. In the drama he found 
a combination of poetry, music, panto- 
mime, and scenery, and he held that 
these factors ought to co-operate on 
a basis of mutual dependence, the in- 
spiration of all being dramatic expres- 

* See " Studies in the Wagnerian Drama," chap- 
ter I. 









The mis- 
sion of 

tions abol- 




How to Listen to Music 

sion. Music, therefore, ought to be 
subordinate to the text in which the 
dramatic idea is expressed, and simply 
serve to raise it to a higher power by- 
giving it greater emotional life. So, 
also, it ought to vivify pantomime and 
accompany the stage pictures. In or- 
der that it might do all this, it had to 
be relieved of the shackles of formal- 
ism ; only thus could it move with the 
same freedom as the other elements 
consorted with it in the drama. There- 
fore, the distinctions between recitative 
and aria were abolished, and an " endless 
melody " took the place of both. An 
exalted form of speech is borne along 
on a flood of orchestral music, which, 
quite as much as song, action, and 
scenery concerns itself with the exposi- 
tion of the drama. That it may do this 
the agencies, spiritual as well as ma- 
terial, which are instrumental in the 
development of the play, are identified 
with certain melodic phrases, out of 
which the musical fabric is woven. 
These phrases are the much mooted, 
much misunderstood " leading motives " 
typical phrases I call them. Wagner 

At the Opera 

has tried to make them reflect the 
character or nature of the agencies with 
which he has associated them, and 
therefore we find the giants in the 
Niblung tetralogy symbolized in heavy, 
slowly moving, cumbersome phrases ; 
the dwarfs have two phrases, one sug- 
gesting their occupation as smiths, by its 
hammering rhythm, and the other their 
intellectual habits, by its suggestion 
of brooding contemplativeness. I can- 
not go through the catalogue of the 
typical phrases which enter into the 
musical structure of the works which I 
have called lyric dramas as contra-dis- 
tinguished from operas. They should, 
of course, be known to the student of 
Wagner, for thereby will he be helped 
to understand the poet-composer's pur- 
poses, but I would fain repeat the 
warning which I uttered twice in my 
" Studies in the Wagnerian Drama : " 

" It cannot be too forcibly urged that if we con- 
fine our study of Wagner to the forms and names 
of the phrases out of which he constructs his mu' 
sical fabric, we shall, at the last, have enriched 
our minds with a thematic catalogue and nothing 
else. We shall remain guiltless of knowledge un- 



istics of 




should be 

The ques- 
tion of ef- 

How to Listen to Music 

less we learn something of the nature of those 
phrases by noting the attributes which lend them 
propriety and fitness, and can recognize, measur- 
ably at least, the reasons for their introduction and 
development. Those attributes give character and 
mood to the music constructed out of the phrases. 
If we are able to feel the mood, we need not care 
how the phrases which produce it have been 
labelled. If we do not feel the mood, we may 
memorize the whole thematic catalogue of Wolzo- 
gen and have our labor for our pains. It would be 
better to know nothing about the phrases, and con- 
tent one's self with simple sensuous enjoyment 
than to spend one's time answering the baldest of 
all the riddles of Wagner's orchestra ' What am I 
playing now ? ' 

" The ultimate question concerning the correct- 
ness or effectiveness of Wagner's system of compo- 
sition must, of course, be answered along with the 
question : ' Does the composition, as a whole, 
touch the emotions, quicken the fancy, fire the im- 
agination ? ' If it does these things, we may, to a 
great extent, if we wish, get along without the in- 
tellectual processes of reflection and comparison 
which are conditioned upon a recognition of the 
themes and their uses. But if we put aside this in- 
tellectual activity, we shall deprive ourselves, among 
other things, of the pleasures which it is the prov- 
ince of memory to give ; and the exercise of memory 
is called for by music much more urgently than by 
any other art, because of its volatile nature and the 
rdle which repetition plays in it." 


Choirs and Choral Music 

NO one would go far astray who 
should estimate the extent and 
sincerity of a community's musical 
culture by the number of its chorus 
singers. Some years ago it was said 
that over three hundred cities and 
towns in Germany contained singing 
societies and orchestras devoted to the 
cultivation of choral music. In the 
United States, where there are com- 
paratively a small number of instru- 
mental musicians, there has been a 
wonderful development of singing so- 
cieties within the last generation, and it 
is to this fact largely that the notable 
growth in the country's knowledge and 
appreciation of high-class music is due. 
No amount of mere hearing and study 
can compare in influence with participa- 


Choirs a 
of culture. 



The value 
of choir 

and or- 

How to Listen to Music 

tion in musical performance. Music is 
an art which rests on love. It is beau- 
tiful sound vitalized by feeling, and it 
can only be grasped fully through man's 
emotional nature. There is no quicker 
or surer way to get to the heart of a 
composition than by performing it, and 
since participation in chorus singing 
is of necessity unselfish and creative of 
sympathy, there is no better medium of 
musical culture than membership in a 
choir. It was because he realized this 
that Schumann gave the advice to all 
students of music: " Sing diligently in 
choirs ; especially the middle voices, 
for this will make you musical." 

There is no community so small or 
so ill-conditioned that it cannot main- 
tain a singing society. Before a city 
can give sustenance to even a small 
body of instrumentalists it must be large 
enough and rich enough to maintain a 
theatre from which those instrumental- 
ists can derive their support. There 
can be no dependence upon amateurs, 
for people do not study the oboe, bas- 
soon, trombone, or double-bass for 
amusement. Amateur violinists and 

Choirs and Choral Music 

amateur flautists there are in plenty, 
but not amateur clarinetists and French- 
horn players ; but if the love for music 
exists in a community, a dozen families 
shall suffice to maintain a choral club. 
Large numbers are therefore not essen- 
tial ; neither is wealth. Some of the 
largest and finest choirs in the world 
flourish among the Welsh miners in 
the United States and Wales, fostered 
by a native love for the art and the na- 
tional institution called Eisteddfod. 

The lines on which choral culture has 
proceeded in the United States are two, 
of which the more valuable, from an 
artistic point of view, is that of the ora- 
torio, which went out from New Eng- 
land. The other originated in the Ger- 
man cultivation of the Mdnnergesang, 
the importance of which is felt more in 
the extent of the culture, prompted as it 
is largely by social considerations, than 
in the music sung, which is of necessity 
of a lower grade than that composed for 
mixed voices. It is chiefly in the im- 
pulse which German Mannergesang car- 
ried into all the corners of the land, and 
especially the impetus which the festi- 


nor wealth 

Lines of 
choral cult- 
ure in the 


and ora- 


How to Listen to Music 

vals of the German singers gave to the 
sections in which they have been held 
for half a century, that this form of cult- 
ure is interesting. 

The cultivation of oratorio music 
sprang naturally from the Church, and 
though it is now chiefly in the hands of 
secular societies, the biblical origin of 
the vast majority of the texts used in 
the works which are performed, and 
more especially the regular perform- 
ances of Handel's " Messiah " in the 
Christmastide, have left the notion, more 
or less distinct, in the public mind, that 
oratorios are religious functions. Nev- 
ertheless (or perhaps because of this fact) 
the most successful choral concerts in the 
United States are those given by orato- 
rio societies. The cultivation of cho- 
ral music which is secular in character 
is chiefly in the hands of small organi- 
zations, whose concerts are of a semi- 
private nature and are enjoyed by the 
associate members and invited guests. 
This circumstance is deserving of notice 
as a characteristic feature of choral mu- 
sic in America, though it has no partic- 
ular bearing upon this study, which 

Choirs and Choral Music 

must concern itself with choral organ- 
izations, choral music, and choral per- 
formances in general. 

Organizations of the kind in view dif- 
fer from instrumental in being composed 
of amateurs ; and amateur choir-singing 
is no older anywhere than in the United 
States. Two centuries ago and more 
the singing of catches and glees was a 
common amusement among the gentler 
classes in England, but the performances 
of the larger forms of choral music were 
in the hands of professional choristers 
who were connected with churches, 
theatres, schools, and other public insti- 
tutions. Naturally, then, the choral 
bodies were small. Choirs of hundreds 
and thousands, such as take part in the 
festivals of to-day, are a product of a 
later time. 

" When Bach and Handel wrote their Passions, 
Church Cantatas, and Oratorios, they could only 
dream of such majestic performances as those 
works receive now ; and it is one of the miracles of 
art that they should have written in so masterly a 
manner for forces that they could never hope to 
control. Who would think, when listening to the 
4 Hallelujah ' of ' The Messiah,' or the great double 
choruses of ^ Israel in Egypt,' in which the voice 






in the 



The size of 
old choirs. 

2 5 8 



Choirs a 



How to Listen to Music 

of the composer is ' as the voice of a great mul- 
titude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the 
voice of many thunderings, saying, " Alleluia, for 
the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth ! ' " that these 
colossal compositions were never heard by Handel 
from any chorus larger than the most modest of 
our church choirs ? At the last performance of 
' The Messiah ' at which Handel was advertised to 
appear (it was for the benefit of his favorite charity, 
the Foundling Hospital, on May 3, 1759 he died 
before the time, however), the singers, including 
principals, numbered twenty-three, while the instru- 
mentalists numbered thirty-three. At the first great 
Handel Commemoration, in Westminster Abbey, 
in 1784, the choir numbered two hundred and 
seventy-five, the band two hundred and fifty ; and 
this was the most numerous force ever gathered to- 
gether for a single performance in England up to 
that time. 

" In 1791 the Commemoration was celebrated by 
a choir of five hundred and a band of three hundred 
and seventy -five. In May, 1786, Johann Adam 
Hiller, one of Bach's successors as cantor of the St. 
Thomas School in Leipsic, directed what was 
termed a Massenauffiihrung of ' The Messiah,' in 
the Domkirche, in Berlin. His ' masses ' con- 
sisted of one hundred and eighteen singers and one 
hundred and eighty-six instrumentalists. In Han- 
del's operas, and sometimes even in his oratorios, 
the tutti meant, in his time, little more than a 
union of all the solo singers; and even Bach's 
Passion music and church cantatas, which seem as 
much designed for numbers as the double choruses 

Choirs and Choral Music 


of ' Israel,' were rendered in the St. Thomas 


Church by a ludicrously small choir. Of this fact a 


record is preserved in the archives of Leipsic. In 

August, 1730, Bach submitted to the authorities a 


plan for a church choir of the pupils in his care. In 


this plan his singers numbered twelve, there being 

one principal and two ripienists in each voice ; with 

characteristic modesty he barely suggests a prefer- 

ence for sixteen. The circumstance that in the 

same document he asked for at least eighteen in- 

strumentalists (two more if flutes were used), taken 

in connection with the figures given relative to the 

' Messiah ' performances, gives an insight into the 

relations between the vocal and the instrumental 

parts of a choral performance in those days." * 

This relation has been more than re- 

versed since then, the orchestras at 

modern oratorio performances seldom 

being one -fifth as large as the choir. 


This difference, however, is due largely 

of voices 
and instru- 

to the changed character of modern 


music, that of to-day treating the instru- 

ments as independent agents of ex- 

pression instead of using them chiefly to 

support the voices and add sonority to 

the tonal mass, as was done by Handel 

and most of the composers of his day. 

* " Notes on the Cultivation of Choral Music," by 

H. E. Krehbiel, p. 17. 




unions and 

How to Listen to Music 

I omit from consideration the Glee 
Unions of England, and the quartets, 
which correspond to them, in this coun- 
try. They are not cultivators of choral 
music, and the music which they sing 
is an insignificant factor in culture. 
The male choirs, too, need not detain us 
long, since it may be said without injus- 
tice that their mission is more social 
than artistic. In these choirs the sub- 
division into parts is, as a rule, into 
two tenor voices, first and second, and 
two bass, first and second. In the glee 
unions, the effect of whose singing is 
fairly well imitated by the college clubs 
of the United States (pitiful things, in- 
deed, from an artistic point of view), 
there is a survival of an old element in 
the male alto singing above the melody 
voice, generally in a painful falsetto. 
This abomination is unknown to the 
German part-songs for men's voices, 
which are written normally, but are in 
the long run monotonous in color for 
want of the variety in timbre and regis- 
ter which the female voices contribute 
in a mixed choir. 

Thre are choirs also composed ex- 

Choirs and Choral Music 

clusively of women, but they are even 
more unsatisfactory than the male 
choirs, for the reason that the absence 
of the bass voice leaves their harmony 
without sufficient foundation. Gener- 
ally, music for these choirs is written 
for three parts, two sopranos and con- 
tralto, with the result that it hovers, sus- 
pended like Mahomet's coffin, between 
heaven and earth. When a fourth part 
is added it is a second contralto, which 
is generally carried down to the tones 
that are hollow and unnatural. 

The substitution of boys for women 
in Episcopal Church choirs has grown 
extensively within the last ten years in 
the United States, very much to the 
promotion of aesthetic sentimentality in 
the congregations, but without improv- 
ing the character of worship -music. 
Boys' voices are practically limitless in 
an upward direction, and are naturally 
clear and penetrating. Ravishing effects 
can be produced with them, but it is 
false art to use passionless voices in mu- 
sic conceived for the mature and emo- 
tional voices of adults ; and very little of 
the old English Cathedral music, written 








Origin of 

How to Listen to Music 

for choirs of boys and men, is preserved 
in the service lists to-day. 

The only satisfactory choirs are the 
mixed choirs of men and women. Upon 
them has devolved the cultivation of 
artistic choral music in our public con- 
cert-rooms. As we know such choirs 
now, they are of comparatively recent 
origin, and it is a singular commentary 
upon the way in which musical history 
is written, that the fact should have so 
long been overlooked that the credit 
of organizing the first belongs to the 
United States. A little reflection will 
show this fact, which seems somewhat 
startling at first blush, to be entirely 
natural. Large singing societies are of 
necessity made up of amateurs, and the 
want of professional musicians in Amer- 
ica compelled the people to enlist ama- 
teurs at a time when in Europe choral 
activity rested on the church, theatre, 
and institute choristers, who were prac- 
tically professionals. 

As the hitherto accepted record stands, 
the first amateur singing society was 
the Singakademie of Berlin, which Carl 
Friedrich Fasch, accompanist to the roy- 

Choirs and Choral Music 

al flautist, Frederick the Great, called 
into existence in 1791. A few dates will 
show how slow the other cities of mu- 
sical Germany were in following Berlin's 
example. In 1818 there were only ten 
amateur choirs in all Germany. Leip- 
sic organized one in 1800, Stettin in 1800, 
Miinster in 1804, Dresden in 1807, Pots- 
dam in 1814, Bremen in 1815, Chemnitz 
in 1817, Schwabisch-Hall in 1817, and 
Innsbruck in 1818. The Berlin Sing- 
akademie is still in existence, but so also 
is the Stoughton Musical Society in 
Stoughton, Mass., which was founded 
on November 7, 1786. Mr. Charles C. 
Perkins, historian of the Handel and 
Haydn Society, whose foundation was 
coincident with the sixth society in Ger- 
many (Bremen, 1815), enumerates the 
following predecessors of that venerable 
organization : the Stoughton Musical 
Society, 1786 ; Independent Musical So- 
ciety, " established at Boston in the same 
year, which gave a concert at King's 
Chapel in 1788, and took part there in 
commemorating the death of Washing- 
ton (December 14, 1799) on his first suc- 
ceeding birthday ; " the Franklin, 1804 I 

26 3 


The Ger- 
man record. 







Choirs in 
the West. 

The size of 

How to Listen to Music 

the Salem, 1806; Massachusetts Musical, 
1807; Lock Hospital, 1812, and the Nor- 
folk Musical, the date of whose founda- 
tion is not given by Mr. Perkins. 

When the Bremen Singakademie was 
organized there were already choirs in 
the United States as far west as Cincin- 
nati. In that city they were merely 
church choirs at first, but within a few 
years they had combined into a large 
body and were giving concerts at which 
some of the choruses of Handel and 
Haydn were sung. That their perform- 
ances, as well as those of the New Eng- 
land societies, were cruder than those of 
their European rivals may well be be- 
lieved, but with this I have nothing to do. 
I am simply seeking to establish the pri- 
ority of the United States in amateur 
choral culture. The number of Ameri- 
can cities in which oratorios are per- 
formed annually is now about fifty. 

In size mixed choirs ordinarily range 
from forty voices to five hundred. It 
were well if it were understood by chor- 
isters as well as the public that numbers 
merely are not a sign of merit in a sing- 
ing society. So the concert-room be 

Choirs and Choral Music 

not too large, a choir of sixty well-trained 
voices is large enough to perform almost 
everything in choral literature with 
good effect, and the majority of the best 
compositions will sound better under 
such circumstances than in large rooms 
with large choirs. Especially is this 
true of the music of the Middle Ages, 
written for voices without instrumental 
accompaniment, of which I shall have 
something to say when the discussion 
reaches choral programmes. There is 
music, it is true, like much of Handel's, 
the impressiveness of which is greatly 
enhanced by masses, but it is not exten- 
sive enough to justify the sacrifice of 
correctness and finish in the perform- 
ance to mere volume. The use of large 
choirs has had the effect of developing 
the skilfulness of amateur singers in an 
astonishing degree, but there is, never- 
theless, a point where weightiness of 
tone becomes an obstacle to finished 
execution. When Mozart remodelled 
Handel's " Messiah " he was careful to 
indicate that the florid passages (" divis- 
ions " they used to be called in England) 
should be sung by the solo voices alone, 



not essen- 

How " di- 
visions " 
used to be 




of choirs. 



How to Listen to Music 

but nowadays choirs of five hundred 
voices attack such choruses as " For 
unto us a Child is Born," without the 
slightest hesitation, even if they some- 
times make a mournful mess of the " di- 

The normal division of a mixed choir 
is into four parts or voices soprano, 
contralto, tenor, and bass; but corn- 
posers sometimes write for more parts, 
and the choir is subdivided to corre- 
spond. The custom of writing for five, 
six, eight, ten, and even more voices was 
more common in the Middle Ages, the 
palmy days of the a capella (i.e., for the 
chapel, unaccompanied) style than it is 
now, and, as a rule, a division into more 
than four voices is not needed outside of 
the societies which cultivate this old mu- 
sic, such as the Musical Art Society in 
New York, the Bach Choir in London, 
and the Domchor in Berlin. In music 
for five parts, one of the upper voices, 
soprano or tenor, is generally doubled ; 
for six, the ordinary distribution is into 
two sopranos, two contraltos, tenor, and 
bass. When eight voices are reached a 
distinction is made according as there 

Choirs and Choral Music 

are to be eight real parts (a otto voci 
reali), or two choruses of the four nor- 
mal parts each (a otto voci in due cori 
realt). In the first instance the arrange- 
ment commonly is three sopranos, two 
contraltos, two tenors, and one bass. 
One of the most beautiful uses of the 
double choir is to produce antiphonal 
effects, choir answering to choir, both 
occasionally uniting in the climaxes. 
How stirring this effect can be made 
may be observed in some of Bach's 
compositions, especially those in which 
he makes the division of the choir sub- 
serve a dramatic purpose, as in the first 
chorus of "The Passion according to 
St. Matthew," where the two choirs, 
one representing Daughters of Zion, the 
other Believers, interrogate and answer 
each other thus : 

I. " Come, ye daughters, weep for anguish ; 

See Him ! 
II. "Whom? 
I. " The Son of Man. 

See Him ! 
II. "How? 
I. " So like a lamb. 

See it ! 
II. "What? 



nal music. 

Bach's "St. 
Passion. " 



in a motet. 

in choral 

How to Listen to Music 

I. " His love untold. 


II. "Look where? 
I. " Our guilt behold." 

Another most striking instance is in 
the same master's motet, " Sing ye to 
the Lord," which is written for two 
choirs of four parts each. (In the ex- 
ample from the " St. Matthew Passion " 
there is a third choir of soprano voices 
which sings a chorale while the dra- 
matic choirs are conversing.) In the 
motet the first choir begins a fugue, in 
the midst of which the second choir is 
heard shouting jubilantly, " Sing ye ! 
Sing ye ! Sing ye ! " Then the choirs 
change roles, the first delivering the in- 
junction, the second singing the fugue. 
In modern music, composers frequently 
consort a quartet of solo voices, so- 
prano, contralto, tenor, and bass, with a 
four-part chorus, and thus achieve fine 
effects of contrast in dynamics and 
color, as well as antiphonal. 

The question is near : What consti- 
tutes excellence in a choral perform- 
ance? To answer: The same qualities 
that constitute excellence in an orches- 

Choirs and Choral Music 

tral performance, will scarcely suffice, 
except as a generalization. A higher 
degree of harmonious action is exacted 
of a body of singers than of a body of 
instrumentalists. Many of the parts in 
a symphony are played by a single 
instrument. Community of voice be- 
longs only to each of the five bodies of 
string -players. In a chorus there are 
from twelve to one hundred and fifty 
voices, or even more, united in each 
part. This demands the effacement of 
individuality in a chorus, upon the 
assertion of which, in a band, under the 
judicious guidance of the conductor, 
many of the effects of color and ex- 
pression depend. Each group in a 
choir must strive for homogeneity of 
voice quality; each singer must sink 
the ego in the aggregation, yet employ 
it in its highest potency so far as the 
mastery of the technics of singing is 
concerned. In cultivating precision of 
attack (z>., promptness in beginning a 
tone and leaving it off), purity of intona- 
tion (i.e., accuracy or justness of pitch 
" singing in tune " according to the 
popular phrase), clearness of enuncia- 



of action. 


2 7 



Beauty of 


How to Listen to Music 

tion, and careful attention to all the 
dynamic gradations of tone, from very 
soft up to very loud, and all shades of 
expression between, in the development 
of that gradual augmentation of tone 
called crescendo, and the gradual diminu- 
tion called diminuendo, the highest order 
of individual skill is exacted from every 
chorister ; for upon individual perfection 
in these things depends the collective 
effect which it is the purpose of the 
conductor to achieve. Sensuous beauty 
of tone, even in large aggregations, is 
also dependent to a great degree upon 
careful and proper emission of voice by 
each individual, and it is because the 
contralto part in most choral music, 
being a middle part, lies so easily in the 
voices of the singers that the contralto 
contingent in American choirs, espe- 
cially, so often attracts attention by the 
charm of its tone. Contralto voices are 
seldom forced into the regions which 
compel so great a physical strain that 
beauty and character must be sacrificed 
to mere accomplishment of utterance, 
as is frequently the case with the so- 
prano part. 

Choirs and Choral Music 

Yet back of all this exercise of indi- 
vidual skill there must be a spirit of 
self-sacrifice which can only exist in 
effective potency if prompted by univer- 
sal sympathy and love for the art. A self- 
ish chorister is not a chorister, though 
possessed of the voice of a Melba or 
Mario. Balance between the parts, not 
only in the fundamental constitution of 
the choir but also in all stages of a per- 
formance, is also a matter of the highest 
consideration. In urban communities, 
especially, it is difficult to secure per- 
fect tonal symmetry the rule is a pov- 
erty in tenor voices but those who go 
to hear choral concerts are entitled to 
hear a well-balanced choir, and the pres- 
ence of an army of sopranos will not 
condone a squad of tenors. Again, I 
say, better a well-balanced small choir 
than an ill-balanced large one. 

I have not enumerated all the ele- 
ments which enter into a meritorious 
performance, nor shall I discuss them 
all ; only in passing do I wish to direct 
attention to one which shines by Its 
absence in the choral performances not 
only of America but also of Great 



fatal to sue- 

Tonal bal- 





The cho- 
ruses in 
" The 


How to Listen to Music 

Britain and Germany. Proper pro- 
nunciation of the texts is an obvious 
requirement ; so ought also to be dec- 
lamation. There is no reason why 
characteristic expression, by which I 
mean expression which goes to the 
genius of the melodic phrase when it 
springs from the verbal, should be 
ignored, simply because it may be diffi- 
cult of attainment from large bodies of 
singers. There is so much monotony 
in oratorio concerts because all oratorios 
and all parts of any single oratorio are 
sung alike. Only when the " Hallelu- 
jah " is sung in " The Messiah " at the 
gracious Christmastide is an exaltation 
above the dull level of the routine 
performances noticeable, and then it is 
communicated to the singers by the act 
of the listeners in rising to their feet. 
Now, despite the structural sameness in 
the choruses of " The Messiah," they 
have a great variety of content, and if 
the characteristic physiognomy of each 
could but be disclosed, the grand old 
work, which seems hackneyed to so 
many, would acquire amazing freshness, 
eloquence, and power. Then should we 

Choirs and Choral Music 

2 73 

be privileged to note that there is ample 
variety in the voice of the old master, 
of whom a greater than he said that 
when he wished, he could strike like a 
thunderbolt. Then should we hear the 
tones of amazed adoration in 

, Largo. 

bfr^T" - <* t t LT - 


Variety of 
tion in 

i-\r ^ - fs *-. p j d*~~d-- 
J p - -r * 

Be - hold the Lamb of God ! 

of cruel scorn in 

/ Allegro. 

P3J5" h / 1 ^ ( 1 f. ^j -^ p * w x=k *v ^ 1 

He trust - ed in God that he would de- 

t^ 1 *1 hj p 1 1 ^ F- p 

U -! U L< k J -^ 1 : 
liv - er Him, let him de - liv - er him 

f q ^ \L P . m _ m ^ 

1 ^ ^ * " 
if he de - light in him. 

of boastfuiness and conscious strength 

i . r L f. ' , 1 V P^ ~ 

Let us break their bonds a sun - der. 

and learn to admire as we ought to 
admire the declamatory strength and 


How to Listen to Music 




truthfulness so common in Handel's 

There is very little cultivation of 
choral music of the early ecclesiastical 
type, and that little is limited to the 
Church and a few choirs specially organ- 
ized for its performance, like those that 
I have mentioned. This music is so 
foreign to the conceptions of the ordi- 
nary amateur, and exacts so much skill 
in the singing of the intervals, lacking 
the prop of modern tonality as it does, 
that it is seldom that an amateur body 
can be found equal to its performance. 
Moreover, it is nearly all of a solemn 
type. Its composers were churchmen, 
and when it was written nearly all that 
there was of artistic music was in the 
service of the Church. The secular 
music of the time consisted chiefly in 
Madrigals, which differed from ecclesi- 
astical music only in their texts, they be- 
ing generally erotic in sentiment. The 
choristers of to-day, no less than the 
public, find it difficult to appreciate 
them, because they are not melodic in 
the sense that most music is nowadays. 
In them the melody is* not the privileged 

Choirs and Choral Music 

possession of the soprano voice. All 
the voices stand on an equal footing, 
and the composition consists of a weav- 
ing together, according to scientific 
rules, of a number of voices counter- 
point as it is called. 

Our hymn -tunes are homophonic, 
based upon a melody sung by one voice, 
for which the other voices provide the 
harmony. This style of music came 
into the Church through the German 
Reformation. Though Calvin was a 
lover of music he restricted its practice 
among his followers to unisonal psal- 
mody, that is, to certain tunes adapted 
to the versified psalms sung without ac- 
companiment of harmony voices. On 
the adoption of the Genevan psalter he 
gave the strictest injunction that neither 
its text nor its melodies were to be al- 

" Those songs and melodies," said he, " which 
are composed for the mere pleasure of the ear, and 
all they call ornamental music, and songs for four 
parts, do not behoove the majesty of the Church, 
and cannot fail greatly to displease God." 

Under the influence of the German 
reformers music was in a very different 

2 75 


nic hymns. 




2 7 6 


Luther and 
the German 

A German 

tunes used. 

How to Listen to Music 

case. Luther was not only an amateur 
musician, he was also an ardent lover 
of scientific music. Josquin des Pres, 
a contemporary of Columbus, was his 
greatest admiration ; nevertheless, he 
was anxious from the beginning of his 
work of Church establishment to have 
the music of the German Church Ger- 
man in spirit and style. In 1525 he 
wrote : 

" I should like to have a German mass, and I am 
indeed at work on one ; but I am anxious that it 
shall be truly German in manner. I have no objec- 
tion to a translated Latin text and Latin notes ; but 
they are neither proper nor just (aber es lautet nicht 
artig noch rechtschajfeti) ; text and notes, accent, 
melodies, and demeanor must come from our mother 
tongue and voice, else will it all be but a mimicry, 
like that of the apes." 

In the Church music of the time, com- 
posed, as I have described, by a scientific 
interweaving of voices, the composers 
had got into the habit of utilizing secu- 
lar melodies as the foundation on which 
to build their contrapuntal structures. 
I have no doubt that it was the spirit 
which speaks out of Luther's words 
which brought it to pass that in Ger- 

Choirs and Choral Music 

many contrapuntal music with popular 
melodies as foundations developed into 
the chorale, in which the melody and not 
the counterpoint was the essential thing. 
With the Lutheran Church came con- 
gregational singing ; with congrega- 
tional singing the need of a new style 
of composition, which should not only 
make the participation of the people 
in the singing possible, but should also 
stimulate them to sing by freeing the 
familiar melodies (the melodies of folk- 
songs) from the elaborate and ingenious, 
but soulless, counterpoint which fettered 

The Flemish masters, who were the 
musical law-givers, had been using sec- 
ular tunes for over a century, but only 
as stalking-horses for counterpoint ; and 
when the Germans began to use their 
tunes, they, too, buried them beyond rec- 
ognition in the contrapuntal mass. The 
people were invited to sing paraphrases 
of the psalms to familiar tunes, it is true, 
but the choir's polyphony went far to 
stifle the spirit of the melody. Soon 
the free spirit which I have repeatedly 
referred to as Romanticism, and which 

2 77 




2 7 8 


The first 

The Church 

and con- 

How to Listen to Music 

was powerfully encouraged by the Ref- 
ormation, prompted a style of composi- 
tion in which the admired melody was 
lifted into relief. This could not be 
done until the new style of writing in- 
vented by the creators of the opera (see 
Chapter VII.) came in, but as early as 
1568 Dr. Lucas Ostrander published 
fifty hymns and psalms with music so 
arranged " that the congregation may 
join in singing them." This, then, is in 
outline the story of the beginning of 
modern hymnology, and it is recalled to 
the patrons of choral concerts whenever 
in Bach's " Passion Music " or in Men- 
delssohn's "St. Paul" the choir sings 
one of the marvellous old hymns of the 
German Church. 

Choral music being bound up with 
the Church, it has naturally participated 
in the conservatism characteristic of the 
Church. The severe old style has sur- 
vived in the choral compositions of to- 
day, while instrumental music has grown 
to be almost a new thing within the cen- 
tury which is just closing. It is the se- 
vere style established by Bach, however, 
not that of Palestrina. In the Church 

Choirs and Choral Music 

compositions prior to Palestrina the emo- 
tional power of harmony was but little 
understood. The harmonies, indeed, 
were the accidents of the interweaving 
of melodies. Palestrina was among the 
first to feel the uplifting effect which 
might result from a simple sequence of 
pure consonant harmonies, and the three 
chords which open his famous " Stabat 

Sta - bat ma - ter 

are a sign of his style as distinct in its 
way as the devices by means of which 
Wagner stamps his individuality on his 
phrases. His melodies, too, compared 
with the artificial motivi of his predeces- 
sors, are distinguished by grace, beauty, 
and expressiveness, while his command 
of aetherial effects, due to the manner in 
which the voices are combined, is abso- 
lutely without parallel from his day to 
this. Of the mystery of pure beauty he 
enjoyed a wonderful revelation, and has 



and emo- 

" Stabat 

istics of 
his music. 



music not 

A church- 

Efect of 
the Refor- 

How to Listen to Music 

handed it down to us in such works as 
the " Stabat Mater," " Missa Papae Mar- 
celli," and the " Improperia." 

This music must not be listened to 
with the notion in mind of dramatic ex- 
pression such as we almost instinctively 
feel to-day. Palestrina does not seek to 
proclaim the varying sentiment which 
underlies his texts. That leads to indi- 
vidual interpretation and is foreign to 
the habits of churchmen in the old con- 
ception, when the individual was com- 
pletely resolved in the organization. 
He aimed to exalt the mystery of the 
service, not to bring it down to popular 
comprehension and make it a personal 
utterance. For such a design in music 
we must wait until after the Reforma- 
tion, when the ancient mysticism began 
to fall back before the demands of rea- 
son, when the idea of the sole and suffi- 
cient mediation of the Church lost some 
of its power in the face of the growing 
conviction of intimate personal relation- 
ship between man and his creator. 
Now idealism had to yield some of its 
dominion to realism, and a more rugged 
art grew up in place of that which had 

Choirs and Choral Music 

been so wonderfully sublimated by mys- 

It is in Bach, who came a century 
after Palestrina, that we find the most 
eloquent musical proclamation of the 
new regime, and it is in no sense dis- 
respectful to the great German master 
if we feel that the change in ideals was 
accompanied with a loss in sensuous 
charm, or pure aesthetic beauty. Effect 
has had to yield to idea. It is in the 
flow of the voices, the color effects which 
result from combination and registers, 
the clarity of the harmonies, the repose- 
fulness coming from conscious ease of 
utterance, the loveliness of each individ- 
ual part, and the spiritual exaltation of 
the whole that the aesthetic mystery of 
Palestrina's music lies. 

Like Palestrina, Bach is the culmina- 
tion of the musical practice of his time, 
but, unlike Palestrina, he is also the 
starting-point of a new development. 
With Bach the old contrapuntal art, now 
not vocal merely but instrumental also 
and mixed, reaches its climax, and the 
tendency sets in which leads to the 
highly complex and dramatic art of to- 

28 1 


The source 
of beauty 
in Palcs- 




Bach a 



and indi- 

How to Listen to Music 

day. Palestrina's art is Roman ; the 
spirit of restfulness, of celestial calm, 
of supernatural revelation and supernal 
beauty broods over it. Bach's is Gothic 
rugged, massive, upward striving, hu- 
man. In Palestrina's music the voice 
that speaks is the voice of angels ; in 
Bach's it is the voice of men. 

Bach is the publisher of the truest, 
tenderest, deepest, and most individual 
religious feeling. His music is pecul- 
iarly a hymning of the religious sen- 
timent of Protestant Germany, where 
salvation is to be wrought out with 
fear and trembling by each individual 
through faith and works rather than the 
agency of even a divinely constituted 
Church. It reflects, with rare fidelity 
and clearness, the essential qualities of 
the German people their warm sympa- 
thy, profound compassion, fervent love, 
and sturdy faith. As the Church fell 
into the background and the individual 
came to the fore, religious music took 
on the dramatic character which we 
find in the " Passion Music " of Bach. 
Here the sufferings and death of the 
Saviour, none the less an ineffable mys- 

Choirs and Choral Music 

tery, are depicted as the most poignant 
experience of each individual believer, 
and with an ingenuousness that must 
forever provoke the wonder of those 
who are unable to enter into the Ger- 
man nature. The worshippers do not 
hesitate to say : " My Jesus, good- 
night ! " as they gather in fancy around 
His tomb and invoke sweet rest for His 
weary limbs. The difference between 
such a proclamation and the calm voice 
of the Church should be borne in mind 
when comparing the music of Palestrina 
with that of Bach ; also the vast strides 
made by music during the intervening 

Of Bach's music we have in the rep- 
ertories of our best choral societies a 
number of motets, church cantatas, a set- 
ting of the " Magnificat," and the great 
mass in B minor. The term Motet lacks 
somewhat of definiteness of the usage of 
composers. Originally it seems likely 
that it was a secular composition which 
the Netherland composers enlisted in 
the service of the Church by adapting 
it to Biblical and other religious texts. 
Then it was always unaccompanied. In 

28 3 


ness of 

The motet. 




The "Pas- 

How to Listen to Music 

the later Protestant motets the chorale 
came to play a great part ; the various 
stanzas of a hymn were given differ- 
ent settings, the foundation of each be- 
ing the hymn tune. These were inter- 
spersed with independent pieces, based 
on Biblical words. 

The Church Cantatas (Kirchencanta- 
teri) are larger services with orchestral 
accompaniment, which were written to 
conform to the various religious festi- 
vals and Sundays of the year ; each has 
for a fundamental subject the theme 
which is proper to the day. Again, a 
chorale provides the musical founda- 
tion. Words and melody are retained, 
but between the stanzas occur recita- 
tives and metrical airs, or ariosos, for 
solo voices in the nature of commenta- 
ries or reflections on the sentiment of 
the hymn or the gospel lesson for the 

The " Passions " are still more ex- 
tended, and were written for use in 
the Reformed Church in Holy Week. 
As an art-form they arc unique, com- 
bining a number of elements and hav- 
ing all the apparatus of an oratorio 

Choirs and Choral Music 

plus the congregation, which took part 
in the performance by singing the 
hymns dispersed through the work. 
The service (for as a service, rather 
than as an oratorio, it must be treated) 
roots in the Miracle plays and Myste- 
ries of the Middle Ages, but its origin 
is even more remote, going back to 
the custom followed by the primitive 
Christians of making the reading of the 
story of the Passion a special service 
for Holy Week. In the Eastern Church 
it was introduced in a simple dramatic 
form as early as the fourth century A.D., 
the treatment being somewhat like the 
ancient tragedies, the text being intoned 
or chanted. In the Western Church, 
until the sixteenth century, the Passion 
was read in a way which gave the ser- 
vice one element which is found in 
Bach's works in an amplified form. 
Three deacons were employed, one to 
read (or rather chant to Gregorian 
melodies) the words of Christ, anoth- 
er to deliver the narrative in the words 
of the Evangelist, and a third to 
give the utterances and exclamations of 
the Apostles and people. This was 

28 5 


Origin of 
the " Pas- 

Early Holy 
Week ser- 



The ser- 
vice ampli- 


How to Listen to Music 

the Cantus Passionis Domini nostri Jesu 
Christe of the Church, and had so strong 
a hold upon the tastes of the people 
that it was preserved by Luther in the 
Reformed Church. 

Under this influence it was speedily 
amplified.. The successive steps of the 
progress are not clear, but the choir 
seems to have first succeeded to the 
part formerly sung by the third deacon, 
and in some churches the whole Passion 
was sung antiphonally by two choirs. 
In the seventeenth century the intro- 
duction of recitatives and arias, distrib- 
uted among singers who represented 
the personages of sacred history, in- 
creased the dramatic element of the 
service which reached its climax in the 
" St. Matthew " setting by Bach. The 
chorales are supposed to have been in- 
troduced about 1704. Bach's " Passions" 
are the last that figure in musical his- 
tory. That "according to St. John" 
is performed occasionally in Germany, 
but it yields the palm of excellence to 
that " according to St. Matthew," which 
had its first performance on Good Fri- 
day, 1729, in Leipsic. It is in two parts, 

Choirs and Choral Music 


which were formerly separated by the 
sermon, and employs two choirs, each 
with its own orchestra, solo singers in 
all the classes of voices, and a harpsi- 
chord to accompany all the recitatives, 
except those of Jesus, which are distin- 
guished by being accompanied by the 
orchestral strings. 

In the nature of things passions, ora- 
torios, and their secular cousins, canta- 
tas, imply scenes and actions, and there- 
fore have a remote kinship with the 
lyric drama. The literary analogy which 
they suggest is the epic poem as contra- 
distinguished from the drama. While 
the drama presents incident, the oratorio 
relates, expounds, and celebrates, pre- 
senting it to the fancy through the ear 
instead of representing it to the eye. A 
great deal of looseness has crept into 
this department of music as into every 
other, and the various forms have been 
approaching each other until in some 
cases it is become difficult to say which 
term, opera or oratorio, ought to be ap- 
plied. Rubinstein's " sacred operas " 
are oratorios profusely interspersed with 
stage directions, many of which are im- 






of the 

of the 

How to Listen to Music 

possible of scenic realization. Their 
whole purpose is to work upon the 
imagination of the listeners and thus 
open gate-ways for the music. Ever 
since its composition, Saint - Saens's 
" Samson and Delilah " has held a place 
in both theatre and concert- room. Liszt's 
"St. Elizabeth" has been found more 
effective when provided with pictorial 
accessories than without. The greater 
part of " Elijah " might be presented in 
dramatic form. 

Confusing and anomalous as these 
things are, they find their explanation in 
the circumstance that the oratorio never 
quite freed itself from the influence of 
the people's Church plays in which it 
had its beginning. As a distinct art- 
form it began in a mixture of artistic 
entertainment and religious worship 
provided in the early part of the six- 
teenth century by Filippo Neri (now a 
saint) for those who came for pious in- 
struction to his oratory (whence the 
name). The purpose of these entertain- 
ments being religious, the subjects were 
Biblical, and though the musical prog- 
ress from the beginning was along the 

Choirs and Choral Music 

line of the lyric drama, contempora- 
neous in origin with it, the music natu- 
rally developed into broader forms on 
the choral side, because music had to 
make up for the lack of pantomime, cos- 
tumes, and scenery. Hence we have 
not only the preponderance of choruses 
in the oratorio over recitative, arias, 
duets, trios, and so forth, but also the 
adherence in the choral part to the old 
manner of writing" which made the ex- 
pansion of the choruses possible. Where 
the choruses left the field of pure reflec- 
tion and became narrative, as in " Israel 
in Egypt," or assumed a dramatic char- 
acter, as in the " Elijah," the composer 
found in them vehicles for descriptive 
and characteristic music, and so local 
color came into use. Characterization 
of the solo parts followed as a matter of 
course, an early illustration being found 
in the manner in which Bach lifted the 
words of Christ into prominence by sur- 
rounding them with the radiant halo 
which streams from the violin accom- 
paniment. In consequence the singer 
to whom was assigned the task of sing- 
ing the part of Jesus presented himself 



The chora' ' 



and de- 




The chorus 
in opera 
and ora- 

The Mass. 

How to Listen to Music 

to the fancy of the listeners as a repre- 
sentative of the historical personage 
as the Christ of the drama. 

The growth of the instrumental art 
here came admirably into play, and so it 
came to pass that opera and oratorio 
now have their musical elements of ex- 
pression in common, and differ only in 
their application of them opera fore- 
going the choral element to a great ex- 
tent as being a hindrance to action, and 
oratorio elevating it to make good the 
absence of scenery and action. While 
oratorios are biblical and legendary, 
cantatas deal with secular subjects and, 
in the form of dramatic ballads, find a 
delightful field in the world of romance 
and supernaturalism. 

Transferred from the Church to the 
concert-room, and considered as an art- 
form instead of the eucharistic office, 
the Mass has always made a strong ap- 
peal to composers, and half a dozen 
masterpieces of missal composition 
hold places in the concert lists of the 
singing societies. Notable among these 
are the Requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, 
and Verdi, and the Solemn Mass in D by 

Choirs and Choral Music 

Beethoven. These works represent at 
one and the same time the climax of ac- 
complishment in the musical treatment 
and the secularization of the missal text. 
They are the natural outcome of the ex- 
pansion of the office by the introduction 
of the orchestra into the Church, the 
departure from the a capella style of 
writing, which could not be consorted 
with the orchestra, and the growth of a 
desire to enhance the pomp of great 
occasions in the Church by the produc- 
tion of masses specially composed for 
them. Under such circumstances the 
devotional purpose of the mass was 
lost in the artistic, and composers gave 
free reign to their powers, for which 
they found an ample stimulus in the 
missal text 

The first effect, and the one which 
largely justifies the adherents of the old 
ecclesiastical style in their crusade 
against the Catholic Church music of 
to-day, was to make the masses senti- 
mental and operatic. So little regard 
was had for the sentiment of the words, 
so little respect for the solemnity of the 
sacrament, that more than a century ago 



ization of 
the Mass. 

tal masses. 



and the 

The masses 
for the 

How to Listen to Music 

Mozart (whose masses are far from 
being models of religious expression) 
could say to Cantor Doles of a Gloria 
which the latter showed him, " S'ist ja 
alles nix" and immediately sing the 
music to "Hoi's der Geier, das geht 
flink ! " which words, he said, went 
better. The liberty begotten by this 
license, though it tended to ruin the 
mass, considered strictly as a liturgical 
service, developed it musically. The 
masses for the dead were among the 
earliest to feel the spirit of the time, for 
in the sequence, Dies irce, they con- 
tained the dramatic element which the 
solemn mass lacked. The Kyrie, Credo, 
Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are 
purely lyrical, and though the evolu- 
tionary movement ended in Beethoven 
conceiving certain portions (notably the 
Agnus Dei} in a dramatic sense, it was 
but natural that so far as tradition fixed 
the disposition and formal style of the 
various parts, it should not be dis- 
turbed. At an early date the compos- 
ers began to put forth their powers of 
description in the Dies ires, however, and 
there is extant in a French mass an 

Choirs and Choral Music 

amusing example of the length to 
which tone-painting in this music was 
carried by them. Gossec wrote a Re- 
quiem on the death of Mirabeau which 
became famous. The words, Quantus 
tremor est futurus, he set so that on 
each syllable there were repetitions, 
staccato, of a single tone, thus : 

This absurd stuttering Gossec de- 
signed to picture the terror inspired by 
the coming of the Judge at the last 

The development of instrumentation 
placed a factor in the hands of these 
writers which they were not slow to 
utilize, especially in writing music for 

2 93 


Gossec s 

The orches- 
tra in the 








How to Listen to Music 

the Dies ir<z> and how effectively Mo- 
zart used the orchestra in his Requiem 
it is not necessary to state. It is a safe 
assumption that Beethoven's Mass in D 
was largely instrumental in inspiring 
Berlioz to set the Requiem as he did. 
With Beethoven the dramatic idea is 
the controlling one, and so it is with 
Berlioz. Beethoven, while showing a 
reverence for the formulas of the Church, 
and respecting the tradition which gave 
the Kyrie a triple division and made 
fugue movements out of the phrases 
" Cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei patris 
Amen," " Et vitam venturi" and " Osanna 
in excelsis" nevertheless gave his com- 
position a scope which placed it beyond 
the apparatus of the Church, and filled 
it with a spirit that spurns the limita- 
tions of any creed of less breadth and 
universality than the grand Theism 
which affectionate communion with nat- 
ure had taught him. 

Berlioz, less religious, less reverential, 
but equally fired by the solemnity and 
majesty of the matter given into his 
hands, wrote a work in which he placed 
his highest conception of the awfulness 

Choirs and Choral Music 

of the Last Judgment and the emotions 
which are awakened by its contempla- 
tion. In respect of the instrumentation 
he showed a far greater audacity than 
Beethoven displayed even in the much- 
mooted trumpets and drums of the Ag- 
nus Dei, where he introduces the sounds 
of war to heighten the intensity of the 
prayer for peace, " Dona nobis pacem" 
This is talked about in the books as a 
bold innovation. It seems to have es- 
caped notice that the idea had occurred 
to Haydn twenty-four years before and 
been realized by him. In 1796 Haydn 
wrote a mass, " In Tempore Belli," the 
French army being at the time in Stey- 
ermark. He set the words, " Agnus Dei 
qui tollis peccata mundi" to an accompan- 
iment of drums, " as if the enemy were 
already heard coming in the distance." 
He went farther than this in a Mass in 
D minor, when he accompanied the Be- 
nedictus with fanfares of trumpets. But 
all such timid ventures in the use of in- 
struments in the mass sink into utter 
insignificance when compared with Ber- 
lioz's apparatus in the Tuba mirum of 
his Requiem, which supplements the or- 



ejects in 



How to Listen to Music 


dinary symphonic orchestra, some of its 
instruments already doubled, with four 
brass bands of eight or ten instruments 
each, sixteen extra drums, and a tam- 


Musician, Critic, and Public 

1HAVE been told that there are 
many people who read the news- 
papers on the day after they have at- 
tended a concert or operatic represen- 
tation for the purpose of finding out 
whether or not the performance gave 
them proper or sufficient enjoyment. 
It would not be becoming in me to 
inquire too curiously into the truth of 
such a statement, and in view of a de- 
nunciation spoken in the introductory 
chapter of this book, I am not sure that 
it is not a piece of arrogance, or impu- 
dence, on my part to undertake in 
any way to justify any critical writing 
on the subject of music. Certain it is 
that some men who write about music 
for the newspapers believe, or affect to 
believe, that criticism is worthless, and 


The news- 
papers and 
the public. 


ship be- 
critic, and 

How to Listen to Music 

I shall not escape the charge of incon- 
sistency, if, after I have condemned the 
blunders of literary men, who are lay- 
men in music, and separated the major- 
ity of professional writers on the art 
into pedants and rhapsodists, I never- 
theless venture to discuss the nature 
and value of musical criticism. Yet, 
surely, there must be a right and wrong 
in this as in every other thing, and just 
as surely the present structure of so- 
ciety, which rests on the newspaper, 
invites attention to the existing rela- 
tionship between musician, critic, and 
public as an important element in the 
question How to Listen to Music. 

As a condition precedent to the dis- 
cussion of this new element in the case, 
I lay down the proposition that the 
relationship between the three factors 
enumerated is so intimate and so strict 
that the world over they rise and fall 
together ; which means that where the 
people dwell who have reached the 
highest plane of excellence, there also 
are to be found the highest types of 
the musician and critic ; and that in 
the degree in which the three factors, 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

which united make up the sum of mu- 
sical activity, labor harmoniously, con- 
scientiously, and unselfishly, each striv- 
ing to fulfil its mission, they advance 
music and further themselves, each 
bearing off an equal share of the good 
derived from the common effort. I 
have set the factors down in the order 
which they ordinarily occupy in popu- 
lar discussion and which symbolizes 
their proper attitude toward each other 
and the highest potency of their collab- 
oration. In this collaboration, as in so 
many others, it is conflict that brings 
life. Only by a surrender of their 
functions, one to the other, could the 
three apparently dissonant yet essen- 
tially harmonious factors be brought 
into a state of complacency ; but such 
complacency would mean stagnation. 
If the published judgment on composi- 
tions and performances could always be 
that of the exploiting musicians, that 
class, at least, would read the news- 
papers with fewer heart-burnings; if the 
critics had a common mind and it were 
followed in concert - room and opera- 
house, they, as well as the musicians, 




The need 
and value 
of conflict. 



The critic 
an fsh- 

How to Listen to Music 

would have need of fewer words of dis- 
placency and more of approbation ; if, 
finally, it were to be brought to pass that 
for the public nothing but amiable di- 
version should flow simultaneously from 
platform, stage, and press, then for the 
public would the millennium be come. 
A religious philosopher can transmute 
Adam's fall into a blessing, and we can 
recognize the wisdom of that dispensa- 
tion which put enmity between the seed 
of Jubal, who was the " father of all 
such as handle the harp and pipe," and 
the seed of Saul, who, I take it, is the 
first critic of record (and a vigorous one, 
too, for he accentuated his unfavorable 
opinion of a harper's harping with a 
javelin thrust). 

We are bound to recognize that be- 
tween the three factors there is, ever 
was, and ever shall be in scecula sceculorum 
an irrepressible conflict, and that in the 
nature of things the middle factor is the 
Ishmaelite whose hand is raised against 
everybody and against whom every- 
body's hand is raised. The compla- 
cency of the musician and the indiffer- 
ence, not to say ignorance, of the public 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

ordinarily combine to make them allies, 
and the critic is, therefore, placed be- 
tween two millstones, where he is vigor- 
ously rasped on both sides, and whence, 
being angular and hard of outer shell, 
he frequently requites the treatment 
received with complete and energetic 
reciprocity. Is he therefore to be pit- 
ied ? Not a bit ; for in this position he 
is performing one of the most significant 
and useful of his functions, and disclos- 
ing one of his most precious virtues. 
While musician and public must per- 
force remain in the positions in which 
they have been placed with relation to 
each other it must be apparent at half 
a glance that it would be the simplest 
matter in the world for the critic to ex- 
tricate himself from his predicament. 
He would only need to take his cue 
from the public, measuring his commen- 
dation by the intensity of their applause, 
his dispraise by their signs of displeas- 
ure, and all would be well with him. 
We all know this to be true, that people 
like to read that which flatters them by 
echoing their own thoughts. The more 
delightfully it is put by the writer the 



The critic 
not to be 

How he 

3 02 


The public 
like to be 

The critic 

How to Listen to Music 

more the reader is pleased, for has he 
not had the same idea? Are they not 
his ? Is not their appearance in a public 
print proof of the shrewdness and sound- 
ness of his judgment? Ruskin knows 
this foible in human nature and con- 
demns it. You may read in " Sesame 
and Lilies : " 

" Very ready we are to say of a book, ' How good 
this is that's exactly what I think ! ' But the 
right feeling is, ' How strange that is ! I never 
thought of that before, and yet I see it is true ; or 
if I do not now, I hope I shall, some day.' But 
whether thus submissively or not, at least be sure 
that you go at the author to get at his meaning, not 
to find yours. Judge it afterward if you think 
yourself qualified to do so, but ascertain it first." 

As a rule, however, the critic is not 
guilty of the wrong of speaking out the 
thought of others, but publishes what 
there is of his own mind, and this I laud 
in him as a virtue, which is praisewor- 
thy in the degree that it springs from 
loftiness of aim, depth of knowledge, and 
sincerity and unselfishness of purpose. 

Let us look a little into the views 
which our factors do and those which 
they ought to entertain of each other. 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

The utterances of musicians have long 
ago made it plain that as between the 
critic and the public the greater meas- 
ure of their respect and deference is 
given to the public. The critic is bound 
to recognize this as entirely natural ; 
his right of protest does not accrue 
until he can show that the deference is 
ignoble and injurious to good art. It is 
to the public that the musician appeals 
for the substantial signs of what is called 
success. This appeal to the jury instead 
of the judge is as characteristic of the 
conscientious composer who is sincere- 
ly convinced that he was sent into the 
world to widen the boundaries of art, 
as it is of the mere time-server who 
aims only at tickling the popular ear. 
The reason is obvious to a little close 
thinking : Ignorance is at once a safe- 
guard against and a promoter of con- 
servatism. This sounds like a paradox, 
but the rapid growth of Wagner's music 
in the admiration of the people of the 
United States might correctly be cited 
as a proof that the statement is true. 
Music like the concert fragments from 
Wagner's lyric dramas is accepted 




The office 



of Wag- 
ner's music 
not a sign 
of intelli- 
gent appre- 

How to Listen to Music 

with promptitude and delight, because 
its elements are those which appeal 
most directly and forcibly to our sense- 
perception and those primitive tastes 
which are the most readily gratified by 
strong outlines and vivid colors. Their 
vigorous rhythms, wealth of color, and 
sonority would make these fragments 
far more impressive to a savage than the 
suave beauty of a symphony by Haydn ; 
yet do we not all know that while 
whole-hearted, intelligent enjoyment of 
a Haydn symphony is conditioned up- 
on a considerable degree of culture, an 
equally whole-hearted, intelligent ap- 
preciation of Wagner's music presup- 
poses a much wider range of sympathy, 
a much more extended view of the ca- 
pabilities of musical expression, a much 
keener discernment, and a much pro- 
founder susceptibility to the effects of 
harmonic progressions? And is the 
conclusion not inevitable, therefore, 
that on the whole the ready acceptance 
of Wagner's music by a people is evi- 
dence that they are not sufficiently cult- 
ured to feel the force of that conserva- 
tism which made the triumph of Wag- 


Musician, Critic, and Public 

ner consequent on many years of agita- 
tion in musical Germany ? 

In one case the appeal is elemental ; 
in the other spiritual. He who wishes 
to be in advance of his time does wisely 
in going to the people instead of the 
critics, just as the old fogy does whose 
music belongs to the time when sen- 
suous charm summed up its essence. 
There is a good deal of ambiguity about 
the stereotyped phrase " ahead of one's 
time." Rightly apprehended, great 
geniuses do live for the future rather 
than the present, but where the public 
have the vastness of appetite and scant- 
ness of taste peculiar to the ostrich, 
there it is impossible for a composer to 
be ahead of his time. It is only where 
the public are advanced to the stage of 
intelligent discrimination that a Ninth 
Symphony and a Nibelung Tetralogy 
are accepted slowly. 

Why the charlatan should profess to 
despise the critic and to pay homage 
only to the public scarcely needs an 
explanation. It is the critic who stands 
between him and the public he would 
victimize. Much of the disaffection be- 



' ' Ahead of 
one s time" 




ing the 

How to Listen to Music 

tween the concert-giver and the concert- 
reviewer arises from the unwillingness 
of the latter to enlist in a conspiracy to 
deceive and defraud the public. There 
is no need of mincing phrases here. 
The critics of the newspaper press are 
besieged daily with requests for notices 
of a complimentary character touching 
persons who have no honest standing 
in art. They are fawned on, truckled 
to, cajoled, subjected to the most seduc- 
tive influences, sometimes bribed with 
woman's smiles or manager's money 
and why ? To win their influence in 
favor of good art, think you ? No ; to 
feed vanity and greed. When a critic 
is found of sufficient self-respect and 
character to resist all appeals and to 
be proof against all temptations, who 
is quicker than the musician to cite 
against his opinion the applause of the 
public over whose gullibility and igno- 
rance, perchance, he made merry with 
the critic while trying to purchase his 
independence and honor ? 

It is only when musicians divide the 
question touching the rights and merits 
of public and critic that they seem able 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

to put a correct estimate upon the value 
of popular approval. At the last the 
best of them are willing, with Ferdi- 
nand Hiller, to look upon the public as 
an elemental power like the weather, 
which must be taken as it chances to 
come. With modern society resting 
upon the newspaper they might be 
willing to view the critic in the same 
light ; but this they will not do so long 
as they adhere to the notion that criti- 
cism belongs of right to the professional 
musician, and will eventually be handed 
over to him. As for the critic, he may 
recognize the naturalness and reason- 
ableness of a final resort for judgment 
to the factor for whose sake art is 
(i.e., the public), but he is not bound to 
admit its unfailing righteousness. Up- 
on him, so he be worthy of his office, 
weighs the duty of first determining 
whether the appeal is taken from a 
lofty purpose or a low one, and whether 
or not the favored tribunal is worthy to 
try the case. Those who show a will- 
ingness to accept low ideals cannot ex- 
act high ones. The influence of their 
applause is a thousand-fold more injuri- 



an ele- 

Critic and 

3 o8 





tion of the 

How to Listen to Music 

ous to art than the strictures of the 
most acrid critic. A musician of Schu- 
mann's mental and moral stature could 
recognize this and make it the basis of 
some of his most forcible aphorisms : 

" ' It pleased,' or * It did not please,' say the peo- 
ple ; as if there were no higher purpose than to 
please the people." 

" The most difficult thing in the world to endure 
is the applause of fools ! " 

The belief professed by many musi- 
cians professed, not really held that 
the public can do no wrong, unquestion- 
ably grows out of a depreciation of the 
critic rather than an appreciation of the 
critical acumen of the masses. This de- 
preciation is due more to the concrete 
work of the critic (which is only too 
often deserving of condemnation) than 
to a denial of the good offices of crit- 
icism. This much should be said for 
the musician, who is more liable to be 
misunderstood and more powerless 
against misrepresentation than any 
other artist. A line should be drawn 
between mere expression of opinion and 
criticism. It has been recognized for 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

ages you may find it plainly set forth 
in Quintilian and Cicero that in the 
long run the public are neither bad 
judges nor good critics. The distinc- 
tion suggests a thought about the differ- 
ence in value between a popular and a 
critical judgment. The former is, in 
the nature of things, ill considered and 
fleeting. It is the product of a momen- 
tary gratification or disappointment. In 
a much greater degree than a judgment 
based on principle and precedent, such 
as a critic's ought to be, it is a judgment 
swayed by that variable thing called 
fashion " Qualpibm al vento" 

But if this be so we ought plainly to 
understand the duties and obligations 
of the critic ; perhaps it is because there 
is much misapprehension on this point 
that critics' writings have fallen under 
their own condemnation. I conceive 
that the first, if not the sole, office of the 
critic should be to guide public judg- 
ment. It is not for him to instruct the 
musician in his art. If this were always 
borne in mind by writers for the press 
it might help to soften the asperity felt 
by the musician toward the critic ; and 



Value of 



Duties of 
the critic. 



The musi- 
cians duty 
toward the 

The critic 
steady fub- 

How to Listen to Music 

possibly the musician might then be 
persuaded to perform his first office tow- 
ard the critic, which is to hold up his 
hands while he labors to steady and 
dignify public opinion. No true artist 
would give up years of honorable esteem 
to be the object for a moment of fever- 
ish idolatry. The public are fickle. 
" The garlands they twine," says Schu- 
mann, " they always pull to pieces again 
to offer them in another form to the 
next comer who chances to know how 
to amuse them better." Are such gar- 
lands worth the sacrifice of artistic 
honor ? If it were possible for the critic 
to withhold them and offer instead a 
modest sprig of enduring bay, would 
not the musician be his debtor? 

Another thought. Conceding that 
the people are the elemental power that 
Hiller says they are, who shall save 
them from the changeableness and in- 
stability which they show with relation 
to music and her votaries ? Who shall 
bid the restless waves be still ? We, in 
America, are a new people, a vast hotch- 
potch of varied and contradictory ele- 
ments. We are engaged in conquering 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

a continent ; employed in a mad scram- 
ble for material things ; we give feverish 
hours to win the comfort for our bodies 
that we take only seconds to enjoy ; the 
moments which we steal from our labors 
we give grudgingly to relaxation, and 
that this relaxation may come quickly 
we ask that the agents which produce 
it shall appeal violently to the faculties 
which are most easily reached. Under 
these circumstances whence are to come 
the intellectual poise, the refined taste, 
the quick and sure power of analysis 
which must precede a correct estimate 
of the value of a composition or its per- 
formance ? 

" A taste or judgment," said Shaftesbury, "does 
not come ready formed with us into this world. 
Whatever principles or materials of this kind we 
may possibly bring with us, a legitimate and just 
taste can neither be begotten, made, conceived, or 
produced without the antecedent labor and pains of 

Grant that this antecedent criticism 
is the province of the critic and that he 
approaches even remotely a fulfilment 
of his mission in this regard, and who 
shall venture to question the value and 


Taste and 
must be 

3 12 


tive quali- 
fications of 
critic and 

The critic s 

How to Listen to Music 

the need of criticism to the promotion 
of public opinion? In this work the 
critic has a great advantage over the 
musician. The musician appeals to the 
public with volatile and elusive sounds. 
When he gets past the tympanum of the 
ear he works upon the emotions and the 
fancy. The public have no time to let 
him do more ; for the rest they are will- 
ing to refer him to the critic, whose 
business it is continually to hear music 
for the purpose of forming opinions 
about it and expressing them. Th*e 
critic has both the time and the obliga- 
tion to analyze the reasons why and the 
extent to which the faculties are stirred 
into activity. Is it not plain, therefore, 
that the critic ought to be better able to 
distinguish the good from the bad, the 
true from the false, the sound from the 
meretricious, than the unindividualized 
multitude, who are already satisfied 
when they have felt the ticklings of 

But when we place so great a mission 
as the education of public taste before 
the critic, we saddle him with a vast re- 
sponsibility which is quite evenly divided 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

between the musician and the public. 
The responsibility toward the musician 
is not that which we are accustomed to 
hear harped on by the aggrieved ones 
on the day after a concert. It is toward 
the musician only as a representative of 
art, and his just claims can have nothing 
of selfishness in them. The abnormal 
sensitiveness of the musician to criti- 
cism, though it may excite his commis- 
eration and even honest pity, should 
never count with the critic in the per- 
formance of a plain duty. This sensi- 
tiveness is the product of a low state in 
music as well as criticism, and in the 
face of improvement in the two fields it 
will either disappear or fall under a kill- 
ing condemnation. The power of the 
press will here work for good. The 
newspaper now fills the place in the 
musician's economy which a century 
ago was filled in Europe by the courts 
and nobility. Its support, indirect as 
well as direct, replaces the patronage 
which erstwhile came from these power- 
ful ones. The evils which flow from the 
changed conditions are different in ex- 
tent but n6t in kind from the old. Too 


Toward the 

of the news- 



The musi- 
cian should 
help 'to ele- 
vate the 
standard of 

How to Listen to Music 

frequently for the good of art that sup- 
port is purchased by the same crookings 
of " the pregnant hinges of the knee " 
that were once the price of royal or 
noble condescension. If the tone of 
the press at times becomes arrogant, it 
is from the same causes that raised the 
voices and curled the lips of the petty 
dukes and princes, to flatter whose van- 
ity great artists used to labor. 

The musician knows as well as any- 
one how impossible it is to escape the 
press, and it is, therefore, his plain duty 
to seek to raise the standard of its utter- 
ances by conceding the rights of the 
critic and encouraging honesty, fearless- 
ness, impartiality, intelligence, and sym- 
pathy wherever he finds them. To this 
end he must cast away many antiquated 
and foolish prejudices. He must learn 
to confess with Wagner, the arch-enemy 
of criticism, that " blame is much more 
useful to the artist than praise," and 
that "the musician who goes to de- 
struction because he is faulted, deserves 
destruction." He must stop the conten- 
tion that only a musician is entitled to 
criticise a musician, and without abat- 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

ing one jot of his requirements as to 
knowledge, sympathy, liberality, broad- 
mindedness, candor, and incorruptibility 
on the part of the critic, he must quit 
the foolish claim that to pronounce 
upon the excellence of a ragout one 
must be able to cook it; if he will not 
go farther he must, at least, go with the 
elder D' Israeli to the extent of saying 
that " the talent of judgment may exist 
separately from the power of execu- 
tion." One need not be a composer, but 
one must be able to feel with a com- 
poser before he can discuss his produc- 
tions as they ought to be discussed. 
Not all the writers for the press are 
able to do this ; many depend upon ef- 
frontery and a copious use of technical 
phrases to carry them through. The 
musician, alas ! encourages this method 
whenever he gets a chance; nine times 
out of ten, when an opportunity to re- 
view a composition fails to him, he ap- 
proaches it on its technical side. Yet 
music is of all the arts in the world the 
last that a mere pedant should discuss. 

But if not a mere pedant, then neither 
a mere sentimentalist. 


A critic 
must not 
be a musi- 

not wanted. 





How to Listen to Music 

" If I had to choose between the merits of two 
classes of hearers, one of whom had an intelligent 
appreciation of music without feeling emotion ; the 
other an emotional feeling without an intelligent 
analysis, I should unhesitatingly decide in favor of 
the intelligent non-emotionalist. And for these rea- 
sons : The verdict of the intelligent non-emotion- 
alist would be valuable as far as it goes, but that of 
the untrained emotionalist is not of the smallest 
value; his blame and his praise are equally un- 
founded and empty." 

So writes Dr. Stainer, and it is his 
emotionalist against whom I uttered a 
warning in the introductory chapter of 
this book, when I called him a rhapsodist 
and described his motive to be prima- 
rily a desire to present himself as a per- 
son of unusually exquisite sensibilities. 
Frequently the rhapsodic style is 
adopted to conceal a want of knowl- 
edge, and, I fancy, sometimes also be- 
cause ill -equipped critics have per- 
suaded themselves that criticism being 
worthless, what the public need to read 
is a fantastic account of how music af- 
fects them. Now, it is true that what 
is chiefly valuable in criticism is what a 
man qualified to think and feel tells us 
he did think and feel under the inspira- 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

tion of a performance ; but when car- 
ried too far, or restricted too much, this 
conception of a critic's province lifts 
personal equation into dangerous promi- 
nence in the critical activity, and depre- 
ciates the elements of criticism, which 
are not matters of opinion or taste at 
all, but questions of fact, as exactly 
demonstrable as a problem in mathe- 
matics. In musical performance these 
elements belong to the technics of the 
art. Granted that the critic has a cor- 
rect ear, a thing which he must have if 
he aspire to be a critic at all, and the 
possession of which is as easily proved 
as that of a dollar-bill in his pocket, 
the questions of justness of intonation 
in a singer or instrumentalist, balance 
of tone in an orchestra, correctness of 
phrasing, and many other things, are 
mere determinations of fact ; the facul- 
ties which recognize their existence 
or discover their absence might exist 
in a person who is not " moved by con- 
cord of sweet sounds " at all, and 
whose taste is of the lowest type. It 
was the acoustician Euler. 1 believe, 
who said that he could construct a so- 

3 1 ? 




The Rhap- 

An English 

How to Listen to Music 

nata according to the laws of mathe- 
matics figure one out, that is. 

Because music is in its nature such a 
mystery, because so little of its philos- 
ophy, so little of its science is popularly 
known, there has grown up the tribe of 
rhapsodical writers whose influence is 
most pernicious. I have a case in mind 
at which I have already hinted in this 
book that of a certain English gentle- 
man who has gained considerable emi- 
nence because of the loveliness of the 
subject on which he writes and his 
deftness in putting words together. On 
many points he is qualified to speak, 
and on these he generally speaks enter- 
tainingly. He frequently blunders in 
details, but it is only when he writes 
in the manner exemplified in the fol- 
lowing excerpt from his book called 
" My Musical Memories," that he does 
mischief. The reverend gentleman, 
talking about violins, has reached one 
that once belonged to Ernst. This, he 
says, he sees occasionally, but he never 
hears it more except 

" In the night . . . under the stars, when 
the moon is low and I see the dark ridges of the 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

clover hills, and rabbits and hares, black against the 
paler sky, pausing to feed or crouching to listen to 
the voices of the night. . . . 

" By the sea, when the cold mists rise, and hol- 
low murmurs, like the low wail of lost spirits, rush 
along the beach. . . . 

" In some still valley in the South, in midsum- 
mer. The slate-colored moth on the rock flashes 
suddenly into crimson and takes wing ; the bright 
lizard darts timorously, and the singing of the grass- 
hopper " 

Well, the reader, if he has a liking 
for such things, may himself go on for 
quantity. This is intended, I fancy, for 
poetical hyperbole, but as a matter of 
fact it is something else, and worse. 
Mr. Haweis does not hear Ernst's vio- 
lin under any such improbable condi- 
tions ; if he thinks he does he is a 
proper subject for medical inquiry. 
Neither does his effort at fine writing 
help us to appreciate the tone of the in- 
strument. He did not intend that it 
should, but he probably did intend to 
make the reader marvel at the exquisite 
sensibility of his soul to music. This is 
mischievous, for it tends to make the in- 
judicious think that they are lacking in 
musical appreciation, unless they, too, 

3 1 9 



ous writ- 



and sanity. 

How to Listen to Music 


can see visions and hear voices and 
dream fantastic dreams when music is 
sounding. When such writing is popu- 
lar it is difficult to make men and women 
belie\e that they may be just as suscep- 
tible to the influence of music as the 
child Mozart was to the sound of a 
trumpet, yet listen to it without once 
feeling the need of taking leave of their 
senses or wandering away from sanity. 
Moreover, when Mr. Haweis says that 
he sees but does not hear Ernst's violin 
more, he speaks most undeserved dis- 
praise of one of the best violin players 
alive, for Ernst's violin now belongs to 
and is played by Lady Halle" she that 
was Madame Norman-Neruda. 

Is there, then, no place for rhapsodic 
writing in musical criticism ? Yes, de- 
cidedly. It may, indeed, at times be the 
best, because the truest, writing. One 
would convey but a sorry idea of a com- 
position were he to confine himself to a 
technical description of it the number 
of its measures, its intervals, modula- 
tions, speed, and rhythm. Such a de- 
scription would only be comprehensible 
to the trained musician, and to him 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

would picture the body merely, not the 
soul. One might as well hope to tell of 
the beauty of a statue by reciting its di- 
mensions. But knowledge as well as 
sympathy must speak out of the words, 
so that they may realize Schumann's 
lovely conception when he said that the 
best criticism is that which leaves after 
it an impression on the reader like that 
which the music made on the hearer. 
Read Dr. John Brown's account of one 
of Halle's recitals, reprinted from " The 
Scotsman," in the collection of essays 
entitled " Spare Hours," if you would 
see how aptly a sweetly sane mind and 
a warm heart can rhapsodize without 
the help of technical knowledge : 

" Beethoven (Dr. Brown is speaking of the So- 
nata in D, op. 10, No. 3) begins with a trouble, 
a wandering and groping in the dark, a strange 
emergence of order out of chaos, a wild, rich con- 
fusion and misrule. Wilful and passionate, often 
harsh, and, as it were, thick with gloom; then 
comes, as if ' it stole upon the air,' the burden of 
the theme, the still, sad music Largo mesto so 
human, so sorrowful, and yet the sorrow overcome, 
not by gladness but by something better, like the 
sea, after a dark night of tempest, falling asleep in 
the young light of morning, and 4 whispering how 

3 21 



Dr. Brown 





Apollo and 
the critic 
a fable. 

The critic's 
duty to ad- 

How to Listen to Music 

meek and gentle it can be.' This likeness to the 
sea, its immensity, its uncertainty, its wild, strong 
glory and play, its peace, its solitude, its un- 
searchableness, its prevailing sadness, comes more 
into our minds with this great and deep master's 
works than any other." 

That is Beethoven. 

Once upon a time it is an ancient 
fable a critic picked out all the faults 
of a great poet and presented them to 
Apollo. The god received the gift 
graciously and set a bag of wheat be- 
fore the critic with the command that 
he separate the chaff from the kernels. 
The critic did the work with alacrity, 
and turning to Apollo for his reward, 
received the chaff. Nothing could 
show us more appositely than this 
what criticism should not be. A crit- 
ic's duty is to separate excellence from 
defect, as Dr. Crotch says ; to admire 
as well as to find fault. In the propor- 
tion that defects are apparent he should 
increase his efforts to discover beauties. 
Much flows out of this conception of 
his duty. Holding it the critic will 
bring besides all needful knowledge a 
fulness of love into his work. " Where 

Musician, Critic, and Public 

sympathy is lacking, correct judgment 
is also lacking," said Mendelssohn. The 
critic should be the mediator between 
the musician and the public. For all 
new works he should do what the sym- 
phonists of the Liszt school attempt to 
do by means of programmes ; he should 
excite curiosity, arouse interest, and 
pave the way to popular comprehen- 
sion. But for the old he should not 
fail to encourage reverence and admira- 
tion. To do both these things he must 
know his duty to the past, the present, 
and the future, and adjust each duty to 
the other. Such adjustment is only 
possible if he knows the music of the 
past and present, and is quick to per- 
ceive the bent and outcome of novel 
strivings. He should be catholic in 
taste, outspoken in judgment, unaltera- 
ble in allegiance to his ideals, unswerv- 
able in integrity. 

3 2 3 


A mediator 
and pub lit. 


























.Allegro. J.t. 




ABSOLUTS music, 36 
Academy of Music, New York, 


Adagio, in symphony, 133 
Addison, 205, 206, 208 
Allegro, in symphony, 132 
Allemande, 173, 174 
Alto clarinet, 104 
Alto, male, 260 
Amadeo, 241 

Ambros, August Wilhelm, 49 
Antiphony, 267 
Archilochus, 213 
Aria, 235 
Arioso, 235 
Asaph, 115 

BACH, C. P. E., 180, 185 

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 69, 83, 
148, 167, 169, 170, 171, 174, 176, 
180, 181, 184, 192, 257, 259, 267, 
268, 278, 281, 282, 283, 286, 287, 
289 ; his music, 281 et seq. ; his 
technique as player, 180, 181, 
184 ; his choirs, 257, 259 ; com- 
pared with Palestrina, 378 ; 
1 Magnificat," 283; Mass in 
B minor, 283 ; Chromatic Fan- 
tasia and Fugue, 171 ; Suites, 
174. 176 ; " St Matthew Pas- 
sion," 267, 278, 282, 286, 289 ; 

Motet, "Sing ye to the Lord," 
268 ; " St. John Passion," 286 

Balancement, 170 

Balfe, 223 

Ballade, 192 

Ballet music, 152 

Balletto, 173 

Bass clarinet, 104 

Bass trumpet, 81, 82 

Basset horn, 82 

Bassoon, 74, 82, 99, 101 et seq. 

Bastardella, La, 239 

Bayreuth Festival orchestra, 81, 

Bcbung, 169, 170 

Beethoven, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 

33- 34, 35. 44, 46, 47. 49- 53, 60. 
62, 63, 70, 92, 94, loi, 102, 103, 
106, 113, 120, 125, 131, 132, 133, 
136, 137, 138, 140, 141, 146, 147, 
151, 167, 182, 184, 186, 187, 193, 
195. 196. 203, 208, 232, 292, 321, 
322 ; likenesses in his melodies, 
33. 34 ; unity in his works, 27, 
28, 29 ; his chamber music, 47 ; 
his sonatas, 182 ; his democ- 
racy, 46 ; not always idiomat- 
ic, I 93 ' his pianoforte, 195 ; 
his pedal effects, 196; missal 
compositions, 292, 294; his 
overtures, 147; his free fan- 

35 2 


tasias, 131 ; his technique as a 
player, 186; " Eroica " sym- 
phony, 100, 132, 136; Fifth 
symphony, 28, 29, 30, 31, 92, 
103, 120, 125, 133 ; " Pastoral" 
symphony, 44, 49, 53, 62, 63, 
94, 102, 132, 140, 141 ; Seventh 
symphony, 31, 32, 132, 133; 
Eighth symphony, 113; Ninth 
symphony, 33, 34, 35, 94, 133, 
136, 138, 305 ; Sonata, op. 10, 
No. 3, 321 ; Sonata, op. 31, 
No. 2, 29 ; Sonata ' ' Appassi- 
onata," 29, 30, 31 ; Pianoforte 
concerto in G, 31 ; Pianoforte 
concerto in E-flat, 146 ; Violin 
concerto, 146; " Becalmed at 
Sea," 60 ; " Fidelio," 203, 208, 
232 ; Mass in D, 60, 292, 294 ; 
Serenade, op. 8, 151 

Bell chime, 74 

Bellini, 203, 204, 242, 245 ; " La 
Sonnambula," 204, 245 ; " Nor- 
ma," 242 

Benedetti, 242 

Berlin Singakademie, 262 

Berlioz, 49, 80, 87, 89, 90, 94, 100, 
102, 104, 113. 137, 138, 139. 
294, 295 ; " L'idee fixe" 137 ; 
" Symphonic Fantastique," 
137; "Romeo and Juliet," 90, 
94, 139; Requiem, 113, 294, 


Bizet, " Carmen," 238, ^42 
Boileau, 206 
Bosio, 241 
Boston Symphony Orchestra, 81, 

82, 108 

Bottesini, 94 
Bourre'e, 173 
Brahm's * 4 Academic overture," 


Branle, 173 
Brass instruments, 74, 104 tt 


Brignoli, 209, 242 
Broadwood's pianoforte, 195 
Brown, Dr. John, 321 
Bully Bottom in music, 61 
Bunner, H. C., 136 
Burns's " Ye flowery banks," 175 

CACCINI, " Eurydice," 234 

Cadences, 23 

Cadenzas, 145 

Calve, Emma, 242, 247 

Calvin and music, 275 

Campanini, 242 

Cantatas, 290 

Cat's mew in music, 52 

Catalani, 245, 246 

Chaconne, 153 

Chamber music, 36, 44 et seq. t 

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 
8 1, 82, 108 

Choirs, 253 et seg.\ size of, 257 et 
seq^ 264, 271 ; men's, 255, 260; 
boys', 261 ; women's, 261 ; 
mixed, 262, 264 ; division of, 
260, 266 ; growth of, in Ger- 
many, 262 ; history of, in Amer- 
ica, 263; in Cincinnati, 264; 
contralto voices in, 270 

Choirs, orchestral, 74 

Chopin, 167, 1 88, 190, 191, 192, 



196 ; hfs romanticism, 188 ; 
Preludes, 190; fitudes, 191; 
Nocturnes, 191 ; Ballades, 192 ; 
Polonaises, 192 ; Mazurkas, 
192 ; his pedal effects, 196 

Choral music, 253 et seq.\ anti- 
phonal, 267 ; mediaeval, 274; 
Calvin on, 275 ; Luther's influ- 
ence on, 276; congregational, 
277 ; secular tunes in, 276, 277 ; 
Romanticism, influence on, 
277 ; preponderance in orato- 
rio, 289 ; dramatic and descrip- 
tive, 289 

Chorley, H. F. , on Jenny Lind's 
singing, 243 

Church cantatas, 284 

Cicero, 309 

Cincinnati, choirs in, 264 

Cinti-Damoreau, 241 

Clarinet, 47, 74, 78, 82, 103 etseq., 


Classical concerts, 122 et seq. 
Classical music, 36, 64, 122 etseq. 
Clavichord, 168, 181 
Clavier, 171, 173 
Clementi, 185, 195 
Cock, song of the, 51, 53, 54 
Coleridge, n, 144 
Coletti, 242 
Comic opera, 224 
Composers, how they hear music, 


Concerto, 138, 144 et seq. 
Conductor, 114 et seq. 
Content of music, 36 et seq. 
Contra-bass trombone, 81, 82 
Contra-bass tuba, 81, 82 

Co-ordination of tones, 17 

Coranto, Corrente, 173, 176 

Cornelius, " Barbier von Bag- 
dad," 236 

Cornet, 73, 82, 108 

Corno di bassetto, 81, 82 

Corsi, 242 

Couperin, 168 

Courante, 173, 176 

Covent Garden Theatre, London, 
224, 226 

Cowen, " Welsh " and " Scandi- 
navian " symphonies, 132 

Cracovienne, 193 

Creole tune analyzed, 23, 24 

Critics and criticism, 13, 297 et 

Crotch, Dr., 322 

Cuckoo, 51, 52, 53 

Cymbals, 74, 82 

Czardas, 201 

Czerny, 186 

DACTYLIC metre, 31 
Dance, the ancient, 43, 212 
Dannreuther, Edward, 129, 144, 

Depth, musical delineation of, 


De Reszke, Edouard, 248 
De Reszke, Jean, 247 
Descriptive music, 51 et seq. 
Design and form, 16 
De Stael, Madame, 210 
D'Israeli, 315 
Distance, musical delineation of, 

Dithyramb, aia, 213 



''Divisions," 265 

Doles, Cantor, 292 

Donizetti, 203, 204, 242; "Lu- 
cia," 203, 204 

Double-bass, 74, 78, 82, 94 

Double-bassoon, 103 

Dragonetti, 94 

Dramatic ballads, 290 

Dramatic orchestras, 81, 82 

Dramma per musica, 227, 249 

Drummers, 113 

Drums, 73, 74, 82, no et seq. 

Duality of music, 15 

" Dump" and Dumka, 151 

Durchfiihrung, 131 

DvoMk, symphonies, " From 
the New World," 132, 138 ; in 
G major, 136 

Edwards, G. Sutherland, 12 
Elements of music, 15, 19 
Emotionality in music, 43 
English horn, 82, 99, 100 
English opera, 223 
Ernst's violin, 320 
Esterhazy, Prince, 46 
Euler, acoustician, 317 
Expression, words of, 43 

FAMILIAR music best liked, 21 

Fancy, 15, 16, 58 

Farinelli, 240 

Fasch.C. F.,262 

Feelings, their relation to music, 

38 et seq. , 215, 216 
Ferri, 239, 240 
Finale, symphonic, 135 

First movement in symphony, 

Flageolet tones, 89 

Florentine inventors of the op- 
era, 217, 227, 234, 249 

Flute, 73, 74, 78, 82, 95 et seq. 

Form, 16, 17, 22, 35 

Formes, 242, 248 

Frederick the Great, 263 

Free Fantasia, 131 

French horn, 47, 106 et seq. 

Frezzolini, 242 

Friss, 201 

Frogs, musical delineation of, 
58, 62 


Gavotte, 173, 179 

German opera, 226 

Gerster, Etelka, 242, 245 

Gesture, 43 

Gigue, 173, 174, 178 

Gilbert, W. S., 208, 224 

Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas, 

Glockenspiel, no 

Gluck, 84, 148, 153, 202, 203, 238 ; 
his dancers, 153 ; his orches- 
tra, 238; "Alceste," 148; 
" Iphigenie en Aulide," 153; 
"Orfeo," 202, 203 

Goethe, 34, 140, 223 

Goldmark, " Sakuntala " over- 
ture, 149 

Gong, no 

Gossec, Requiem, 293 

Gounod, " Faust," 209, 224, 238, 



Grand Optra, 223, 224 

Greek Tragedy, 211 et seq. 

Grisi, 241, 242 

Grosse Oper, 224 

Grove, Sir George, 33, 63, 141, 

Gypsy music, 198 et seq. 

HALLE, Lady, 320 

Hamburg, opera in, 206, 207 

Handel, 58, 60, 62, 83, 102, 126, 
148, 174, 177, 178, 181, 182, 184, 
256, 257, 258, 259, 265, 272 ; his 
orchestra, 84 ; his suites, 174 ; 
his overtures, 148 ; his tech- 
nique as a player, 181, 182, 184 ; 
his choirs, 257 ; Commemo- 
ration, 258 ; his tutti, 258 ; 
" Messiah," 60, 126, 256, 257, 
265, 272; "Saul," 102; " Al- 
mira," 177; " Rinaldo," 178; 
" Israel in Egypt," 58, 62, 257, 
259, 289; " Lascia ch? to pi~ 
anga," 178 

Hanslick, Dr. Eduard, 203 

Harmonics, on violin, 89 

Harmony, 19, 21, 22, 218 

Harp, 82 

Harpsichord, 168, 170 

Hauptmann, M. , 41 

Hautboy, 99 

Haweis, the Rev. Mr., 318 et 

Haydn, 46, 84, 100, 127, 168, 183, 
295 ; his manner of composing, 
183 ; dramatic effects in his 
masses, 295 ; " Seasons," zoo 

Hebrew music, 114 ; poetry, 25 

Height, musical delineation of, 


Heman, 115 
Hen, song of, in music, 52, 53, 


Herbarth, philosopher, 39 
Hiller, Ferdinand, 307, 310 
Hiller, Johann Adam, 258 
Hogarth, Geo., " Memoirs of the 

Opera," 210, 245 
Horn, 82, 105, 106 et seq., 151 
Hungarian music, 198 et seq. 
Hymn-tunes, history of, 275 

" Idee fixe" Berlioz's, 137 
Identification of themes, 35 
Idiomatic pianoforte music, 193, 


Idioms, musical, 44, 51, 55 
Imagination, 15, 16, 58 
Imitation of natural sounds, 51 
Individual attitude of man tow- 
ard music, 37 
Instrumental musicians, former 

legal status of, 83 
Instrumentation, 71 etseq f \ in the 

mass, 293 et seq. 
Intelligent hearing, 16, 18, 37 
Intermediary necessary, 20 
Intermezzi, 221 

Interrelation of musical ele- 
ments, 22 

JANIZARY music, 97 
Jean Paul, 67, 189, 190 
Jeduthun, 115 

35 6 


Jig. 179 
Judgment, 311 

Kettle-drums, in et seq. 
Key relationship, 26, 129 
Kinds of music, 36 et seq* 
Kirchencantatett) 284 
Krakowiak, 193 
Kullak, 184 


La Grange, 241, 245 

Lamb, Charles, 10 

Language of tones, 42, 43 

Lassu, 201 

Laws, musical, mutability of, 69 

Lehmann, Lilli, 233, 244, 247 

Lenz, 33 

Leoncavallo, 228 

Lind, Jenny, 241, 243 

Liszt, 132, 140, 142, 143, 167, 168, 
193, 197, 198, 228 ; his music, 
168, 193, 197 ; his transcrip- 
tions, 167 ; his rhapsodies, 167, 
198 ; his symphonic poems, 
142; "Faust" symphony, 132, 
140 ; Concerto in E-flat, 143 ; 
" St Elizabeth," 288 

Literary blunders concerning 
music, 9, 10, ii, 12 

Local color, 152, 153 

London opera, 206, 207, 226 

Louis XIV., 179 

Lucca, Pauline, 242, 246, 247 

Lully, his overtures, 148 ; min- 
uet, 179; u Atys," 206 

Luther, Martin, 276 

Lyric drama, 231, 234, 237, 251 


Magyar music, 198 et seq. 

Major mode, 57 

Male alto, 260 

Male chorus, 255, 260 

Malibran, 241 

Mannergesang, 255, 260 

Marie Antoinette, 153 

Mario, 242, 247, 271 

Marschner, "Hans Heiling," 
225; ''Templer und Jiidin," 
225 ; " Vampyr," 225 ; his op- 
eras, 248 

Mascagni, 228 

Mass, the, 290 et seq. 

Massenet, " Le Cid," 152 

Materials of music, 16 

Materna, Amalia, 247 

Matthews, Brander, n 

Mazurka, 192 

Melba, Nellie, 204, 238, 245, 247, 

Melody, 19, 21, 22, 24 

Memory, 19, 21, 73 

Mendelssohn, 41, 42, 49, 59, 61, 
67, 102, 1:09, 132, 139, 140, 149, 
168, 243, 278, 288, 289, 322; on 
the content of music, 41. 42 ; 
his Romanticism, 67 ; on the 
use of the trombones, 109 ; 
opinion of Jenny Lind, 243 ; 
" Songs without Words," 41 ; 
" Hebrides " overture, 59, 149 ; 
' ' Midsummer Night's Dream, " 
61, 102 ; " Scotch " symphony, 



132, 139 ; u Italian " symphony, 
132 ; " Hymn of Praise," 140 ; 
"St. Paul," 278; "Elijah," 
288, 289 

Mersenne, " Harmonic univer- 
selle," 175, 176 

Metropolitan Opera House, New 
York, 203, 224, 226, 244 

Meyerbeer, 89, 102, 203, 204, 208, 
242, 243, 244; "L'Africaine," 
89; "Robert le Diable," 102, 
208, 244; "Huguenots," 204; 
" L'Etoile du Nord," 243 

Military bands, 123 

Minor mode, 57 

Minuet, 134, 151, 173, 179 

Mirabeau, 293 

Model, none in nature for music, 
8, 180 

Monteverde, " Orfeo," 87 

Moscheles, on Jenny Lind's sing- 
ing, 243 

Motet, 283 

Motives, 22, 24 

Mozart, 84, 109, 132, 145, 151, 
168, 183, 184, 195, 202, 203, 221, 
224, 228, 230. 238, 244, 265, 292 ; 
his pianoforte technique, 184 ; 
on Doles' s mass, 292 ; his or- 
chestra, 238 ; his edition of 
Handel's " Messiah," 265 ; on 
cadenzas, 145 ; his pianoforte, 
195 ; his serenades, 151 ; " Don 
Giovanni," 109, 202, 221, 222, 
228, 230 ; " Magic Flute," 203 ; 
G-minor symphony, 132 ; " Fi- 
garo," 202, 228 

Musica parlante, 234 

Musical instruction, deficiencies 

in, 9 

Musician, Critic, and Public, 297 
Musikdrama^ 227, 238, 249 

Nevada, Emma, 204 
Newspaper, the modern, 297, 298, 


New York Opera, 206, 226, 241 
Niecks, Frederick, 192 
Niemann, Albert, 233 
Nightingale, in music, 52 
Nilsson, Christine, 242, 246, 247 
Nordica, Lillian, 247 
Norman-Neruda, Madame, 320 
Notes not music, 20 
Nottebohm, " Beethoveniana," 


OBOE, 47, 74, 78, 82, 84, 98 et seq. 

Opera, descriptive music in, 61 ; 
history of, 202 et seq. ; language 
of, 205 ; polyglot performances 
of, 207 et seq. their texts per- 
verted, 207 et seq. ; words of, 
209, 210 ; elements in, 214 ; in- 
vention of, 216 et seq. \ varie- 
ties of, 220 et seq. ; comic ele- 
ments in, 221 ; action and 
incident in, 236 ; singing in, 
239 ; singers compared, 241 et 

Opfra bouffe, 220, 221, 225 

Opera buff a, 220 

Op6ra comique, 223 

Optra, Grand, 223 

Opera in musica, 228 



Opera semiseria, 221 

Opera seria, 220 

Opus, 132 

Oratorio, 256, 287 et seq. 

Orchestra, 71 et seq. 

Ostrander, Dr. Lucas, 278 

" Ouida," 12 

Overture, 147 et seq. t 174 

PADEREWSKI, his recitals, 154 
et seq. ; his Romanticism, 167 ; 
" Krakowiak," 193 

Painful, the, not fit subject for 
music, 50 

Palestrina and Bach, 278 et seq. ; 
his music, 279 et seq. ; " Stabat 
Mater," 279, 280 ; " Imprope- 
ria," 280 ; " Missa Papae Mar- 
celli," 280 

Pandean pipes, 98 

Pantomime, 43 

Parallelism, 25 

Passepied, 173 

" Passions," 284 et seq. 

Patti, Adelina, 203, 204, 238, 242, 

245. 247 

Pedals, pianoforte, 195, 196 
Pedants, 13, 315 
Percussion instruments, no et 


Peri, " Eurydice," 234 
Periods, musical, 22, 24 
Perkins, C. .,263 
Pfund, his drums, 112 
Philharmonic Society of New 

York, 76, 77, 81, 82 
Phrases, musical, 22, 24 
Physical effects of music, 38 

Pianoforte, history and descrip- 
tion of, 154 et seq. \ its music, 
154 et seq. , 166 et seq. ; concer- 
tos, 144 ; trios, 147 

Piccolo flute, 85, 97 

Piccolomini, 242, 245 

Pictures in music, 40 

Pi/a, Handel's, 126 

Pizzicato, 88, 91 

Plancon, 248 

Polonaise, 192 

Polyphony and feelings, 39 

Popular concerts, 122 

Porpora, 209 

" Pov piti Momzelle Zizi," 23 

Preludes, 148, 174 

Programme music, 36, 44, 48 et 
seq. t 64, 142 

Puccini, 228 

QUAIL, call of, in music, 51, 54 

Quartet, 147 

Quilled instruments, 170 

Quinault, " Atys," 206 

Quintet, 147 

Quintillian, 309 

RAFF, 49, 96, 132; " Lenore " 
symphony, 96, 132 ; " Im 
Walde " symphony, 132 

Rameau, 168 

Recitative, 219, 220, 228 et seq. 

Reed instruments, 98 et seq. 

Reformation, its influence on 
music, 275, 278, 280 

Refrain, 25 

Register of the orchestra, 85 

Repetition, 22, 25 



Rhapsodists among writers, 13, 

315 et seq. 

Rhythm, 19, ax, 26, 160 
" Ridendo castigat mores," 225 
Rinuccini, " Eurydice," 234 
Romantic music, 36, 64 et seq.^ 

71, 277 

Romantic opera, 225 
Ronconi, 242 
Rondeau and Rondo, 135 
Rossini, 147, 228, 242 ; his over- 
tures, 147; "II Barbiere," 
28 ; " William Tell," 93, 100 
Rubinstein, 59, 152, 167, 168, 
287 ; his historical recitals, 
167 ; his sacred operas, 287 ; 
'* Ocean " symphony, 59 ; 
" Feramors," 152 
Ruskin, John, 302 
Russian composers, 134 


Saint-Saens, " Danse Macabre," 
101, in ; symphony in C mi- 
nor, 141 ; " Samson and Deli- 
lah," 288 

Salvi, 242 

Sarabande, 173, 174, 177 

S ass are Hi, 240 

Scarlatti, D. , 167, 172, 182 ; his 
technique, 172; "Capriccio" 
and " Pastorale," 172 

Scheffer, Ary, 246 

Scherzo, 133, 179 

Schroder-Devrient, 232 

Schubert, 168 

Schumann, 49, 64, 132, 133, 139, 
140, 141, 167, 188, 189, 190, 196, 

254, 308, 310 ; his Romanticism, 
188 ; and Jean Paul, 189 ; his 
pedal effects, 196 ; on popular 
judgment, 308, 310 ; symphony 
in C, 132 ; symphony in D mi- 
nor, 139 ; symphony in B-flat, 
140; "Rhenish" symphony, 
140, 141; "Carnaval," 189, 
190; " Papillons," 189, 190; 
' ' Kreisleriana, ' ' 190 ; ' ' Phan- 
tasiestucke," 190 

Score, 120 

" Scotch snap," 52, 200 

Second movement in symphony, 


Seidl, Anton, 77 

Sembrich, Marcella, 242, 245 

Senesino, 239, 240 

Sense-perception, 18 

Serenade, 149 et seq. 

Shaftesbury, Lord, 311 

Shakespeare, his dances, 153, 
179 ; his dramas, 202 ; a Ro- 
manticist, 221 ; " Two Gentle- 
men of Verona," 150; Queen 
Mab, 90 

Singing, physiology of, 215, 218 ; 
operatic, 239 ; choral, 268 

Singing Societies, 253 et seq. 

Singspiel, 223 

Smith, F. Hopkinson, ix 

Sonata da Camera, 173 

Sonata, 127, 182, 183 

Sonata form, 127 et seq. 

Sontag, 941. 244. 24S, 246 

Sordino, 90 

Space, music has no place in, 59 

Speech and music, 43 



Spencer, Herbert, 39, 43, 216, 

218, 230 
Spinet, 168, 170 
Spohr, " Jessonda," 225 
Stainer, Dr. , 39, 316 
Stein, pianoforte maker, 196 
Stilo rappresentativo, 234 
Stories, in music, 40 
Strings, orchestral, 74, 82, 86 et 

seq. t 102 

Sucher, Rosa, 247 
Suite, 129, 152, 173 et seq. 
Symphonic poem, 142 
Symphonic prologue, 148 
Symphony, 124 et seq., 183 
Syrinx, 98 

TALENT in listening, 4 

Tambourine, no 

Tappert, " Zooplastik in T5- 

nen," 51 
Taste, 311 

Technique, 163 ft seq. 
Tennyson, 9 
Terminology, musical, 8 
Theatre naticnale de FOpera- 

Comique, 223 
Thespis, 212 
Thomas, " Mignon," 223 
Tibia, 98 
Titiens, 242 
Tonal language, 42, 43 
Tones, co-ordination of, 17 
Touch, 163 et seq. 
Tragedia per musita, 227 
Tremolo, 91 

Trench, Archbishop, 65, 66 
Triangle, 74, no 

Trio, 134 

Triolet, 136 

Trombone, 82, 105, 106, 109 et 

Trumpet, 105, 108 

Tschaikowsky, 88, 132; "Sym- 
phonic Pathe"tique," 132 

Tuba, 82, 85, 106, 108 

" Turkish " music, 97 

Tympani, 82, in et seq. 

UGLY, the, not fit for music, 50 
United States, first to have am- 
ateur singing societies, 257, 
262; spread of choral music 
in, 263 
Unity in the symphony, 27, 137 


Verdi, 152, 203, 210, 228, 236, 
238, 242, 243; "Aida," 152,^ 
228, 238 ; " II Trovatore," 210," 
243; "Otello," 228, 238; 
" Falstaff," 228, 236 ; Requiem, 

Vestris, 153 

Vibrato, 90 

Vile, the, unfit for music, 50 

Viola, 74, 77. 82, 92, 93 

Viole da. braccio, 93 

Viole da gamba^ 93 

Violin, 73,74. 77, 82, %6 et seq., 
144, 162 

Violin concertos, 145 

Violoncello, 74. 77, 82. 9*. 93- 94 

Virginal, 168, 170 

Vocal music, 61, 215 

Vorspiel, 148 



WAGNER, 41, 79, 80, 81, 88, 89, 
94, in, 205, 206, 219, 226, 227, 
232, 235, 237, 238, 244, 248, 249, 
250, 251, 303, 305, 314 ; on the 
content of music, 41 ; his in- 
strumentation, 80, in ; his 
dramas, 219, 226, 227, 248 ; 
Musikdrama, 227, 249; his di- 
alogue, 235 ; his orchestra, 238, 
250 ; his operas, 248 ; his theo- 
ries, 249 ; endless melody, 250 ; 
typical phrases, 250 ; " lead- 
ing motives," 250 ; popularity 
of his music, 303 ; on criticism, 
314; " Flying Dutchman," 248; 
" Tannhauser," 248 ; " Lohen- 
grin,'' 79, 88, 235, 248; "Die 
Meistersinger," 249; " Tristan 
und Isolde," 87, 237, 249; 
" Rheingold," 237 ; " Die Wal- 
kare," 94, 237 ; " Siegfried," 
37. 344 I " Die Gotterdamme- 

rung," 237 ; " Ring of the 
Nibelung," 249, 251, 305; 
" Parsifal," 249 

Waldhorn, 107 

Wallace, W. V. , 223 

Walter, Jacob, 53 

Water, musical delineation of, 


Weber, 67, 96, 244, 248 ; his Ro- 
manticism, 67; "Der Freis- 
chiitz," 96, 225; " Oberon," 
225; " Euryanthe," 225 

Weitzmann, " Geschichte des 
Clavierspiels, " 201 

Welsh choirs, 255 

Wood-wind instruments, 74, 77, 

YSAYE, on Cadenzas, 146 



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MT Krehbiel, Henry Edward 
6 How to listen to music 

K74 18th, ed.